Greene County bucks state and national Republican trend; Dr. Bentley wins governorship; Republicans sweep Alabama; Terri Sewell elected first Alabama Black woman to Congress

Dr. Robert Bentley, Terri Sewell, Sheriff-elect Joe Benison
Eighty-five percent of Greene County’s 4,362 voters (a 60% turnout) supported Democrat Ron Sparks for Governor of Alabama while statewide Dr. Robert Bentley and other Republican candidates were swept into office. Nationally, Republicans took control of the House of Representatives and Democrats retained control of the U. S. Senate by a narrow margin.
In Greene County, Sparks had 3,666 votes (85%) to 665 (15%) for Dr. Bentley but statewide Bentley won with 58% of the vote. In Greene County Jim Folsom led Kay Ivy for Lt. Governor by 3,746 (87%) to 562 (13%) but statewide she won a narrow victory over Folsom.
For the rest of the statewide contests, Republicans were swept into office. U. S. Senator Richard Shelby was reelected for a fifth term. Luther Strange defeated James Anderson for State Attorney General. All three Republican candidates for Alabama Supreme Court – Tom Parker, Kelli Wise and Michael Bolin were victorious.
For other state positions, Beth Chapman was reelected as Secretary of State, Young Boozer as Treasurer, Samantha Shaw as State Auditor, and John McMillan for Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries.
Long time Democratic members of the Public Service Commission, which sets utility rates, Jan Cook and Susan Parker, were defeated by Republicans Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh and Terry Dunn.
Republicans took control of the Alabama Legislature for the first time in 136 years. Republicans will control the Alabama Senate 22 to 13 and the Alabama House by at least 60 to 55. This is important because Republicans will control the redistricting process, based on the 2010 Census and can draw the legislative and Congressional district lines in such a way to perpetuate their power for many years to come.
The one positive light for Democrats in Tuesday’s election was the victory of Terri Sewell as 7th District Congressperson by an over 75% margin. Sewell is the first African-American women to serve in Congress from the state of Alabama and takes the seat vacated by Artur Davis. She will be the only Democratic member of the state’s legislative delegation. The other six Congresspersons will be Republicans and our two Senators are Republicans.
“I am so grateful to the people of the 7th District and I will roll up my sleeves everyday to show them that I earned their vote,” said Sewell at her victory celebration in Selma. In Congress, where she will be part of the minority party, she said she will work to create jobs, invest in small businesses, bring economic development, emphasize education and concentrate on promoting career and technical training.
In local elections, most Greene County candidates ran unopposed as Democratic candidates. Jonathan ‘Joe’ Benison was formally elected the new Sheriff of Greene County and will take office in January 2011.
Five County Commissioners were chosen: Nick Underwood (District 1), Tennyson Smith (District 2), Endora Fluker (District 3), Allen Turner Jr. (District 4) and Marvin Childs (District 5) and will take office as soon as they are certified. There will be a swearing-in ceremony this coming Sunday (November 7) at the William M. Branch County Courthouse in Eutaw, Alabama for the new Commissioners.
Lester ‘Bop’ Brown was re-elected to the Greene County School Board from District 1 and Morris Hardy from District 2.
Ronald “Kent” Smith was reelected County Coroner defeating a write-in challenge from Melvin Smith by 3,214 votes to 692. Greg Griggers was reelected as District Attorney for Greene, Sumter and Marengo Counties.
Bobby Singleton was re-elected as a State Senator for District 24 including Greene County and Artis “A. J’’ McCampbell was re-elected as State Representative for District 71. They will return to Montgomery as members of a smaller Democratic minority party.
Senator Hank Sanders, who was re-elected to the Legislature, commenting on the elections said, “ This election is a setback for Alabama. We do not have a single Democrat elected to statewide office. The Democrats were more open to diversity and inclusion of African-Americans at all levels in state government and community development in general. This election has greatly diminished the possibilities of diversity particularly for African-Americans.
“I hope the Republicans that have been elected will reach out and be more inclusive in all areas and especially in areas of race but up to this point I have not seen them do so.”
When asked about being part of the minority party in the Legislature, Sanders said, “Well this is nothing new for me. I have been part of a minority for all of my life in this society. Being part of the majority, with the Democratic Party for the past few years, was the exception for me. We will need to be more resourceful, more creative and more determined. We will have to work harder and do more to accomplish less. The challenges will be greater and the blessings coming from those challenges will be greater as well.”

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