Archived Story

Three get Republican nod for vacancy

Published 5:16pm Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Tallapoosa County Republican Party has made three recommendations for candidates to fill the vacant county commission seat once held by Alexander City Mayor Charles Shaw.

According to a letter to Gov. Robert Bentley dated Jan. 7, the party recommended Steve Robinson, Danny Moncrief or Elliott Gaston be appointed to Shaw’s former seat in District 2.

“Through interviews and a voting process by the full executive committee, we developed a ‘short’ list of three qualified candidates. We then used a secret ballot process to rank order these candidates,” the letter, signed by County Republican Party Chairman John Prophitt, reads. “The vote by the 27 committee members for these candidates was close.”

Robinson received the most votes, with Moncrief receiving the second-most and Gaston receiving third-most.

Prophitt said the letter of recommendation follows several weeks of investigations and interviews. Initially, the executive committee conducted interviews with eight people interested in the position.

“I believe overall it was a fair process, and we did try to broaden it to include a lot of people,” Prophitt said. “I personally talked to at least 25 people in the district to get their opinions … and the other 26 people voting on the executive committee did checking in the district as well. Some people thought we were taking too long or broadening it too much, but we wanted to make sure we opened it up to as many people as possible.”

Prophitt cautioned that there are many factors that play into Bentley’s decision for the seat.

“I tell everybody that the governor is his own man – just because they’re ranked in a certain order doesn’t mean anything,” Prophitt said.

Other candidates not endorsed by the party can also appeal to Bentley’s office directly to vie for the position.

Prophitt said the governor’s office will interview each of the candidates individually within the next week and also conduct background checks on each person.

“There are so many things they factor into those (decisions) that sometimes we just don’t know,” Prophitt said.

State Representative Mark Tuggle said the county Republican Party’s process for selecting candidates was “a very well-run effort as far as fairness and openness.”

“I suspect the governor will make an appointment by the end of January,” Tuggle said. “Once we go into session, the governor and everybody else gets covered up with work. We need to get some representation for the people that live in that district as soon as we can.”

Tuggle said he would support the appointment of any of the three people recommended by the party.

“I have spoken positively for all three of them … and I think they would all be good commissioners,” Tuggle said. “I think it’s good to get Mr. Shaw’s position filled so the county can continue conducting business as well as they could. I look forward to getting the commission back to full strength.”

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