Jeremy Jeffcoat

File / The Outlook

Jeremy Jeffcoat is chair of the Tallapoosa County Democratic Party.

The Tallapoosa County Democratic Party (TCDP) has set its sights on 2022.  

The TCDP executive committee voted to create a new committee Thursday to recruit and screen potential candidates for next year's slate of local elections.

"Over the next several months the committee will reach out to current elected Democrats to offer support, as well as to potential new candidates in the area," the executive committee said in a statement. "The goal of the screening committee will be to not only identify potential candidates, but to offer training and support for those interested in serving the people of Tallapoosa County."

Party chair Jeremy Jeffcoat brought up the 2022 races at the party's regular meeting Thursday, held virtually via Zoom.

"Candidate recruitment is going to be important," Jeffcoat said at the meeting. "There are a couple that are really interesting. One, in the County Commission races we have two elected Democrats on the County Commission."

Current Tallapoosa County Commission Democrats are District 1 commissioner T.C. Coley, representing Kellyton and the northern part of Alexander City, and District 4 commissioner Emma Jean Thweatt, representing Dadeville and Camp Hill.

"There is no reason that T.C. Coley's district should ever go Republican," Jeffcoat said. "It just shouldn't happen. Emma Jean Thweatt, her district's a little bit different but again, she has a strong pretty strong hold on that seat."

Incumbents have until January 2022 to decide if they want to run that November. Thweatt and Coley have yet to announce bids for reelection.

District 2 commissioner Steve Robinson and District 3 commissioner John McKelvey's seats are a "tough get" for Democrats, Jeffcoat said. District 2 includes the southern part of Alex City, Our Town and Willow Point, while District 3 includes Jackson's Gap, New Site, Goldville, Daviston and Hackneyville.

The executive committee instead sets its sights on District 5 commissioner George Carleton's seat covering Stillwaters, the southern part of Pace's Point, Walnut Hill, Wall Street, Reeltown, Liberty City, Union and East Tallassee.

"I do think that George Carleton's seat could possibly be a little vulnerable," Jeffcoat said.

Jeffcoat also pointed out the 5th Judicial Circuit district attorney race as a potential get for Democrats. District attorney Jeremy Duerr ran as Democrat in 2016 but switched to the Republican party in November, which he said was "more aligned with my conservative Christian values."

"He put out a statement about 'defund the police' and blah, blah, blah, basically I'm sure just had the party write a statement up and release it," Jeffcoat said. "I was very disappointed."

Vice chair Vantrice Heard said she "told him (so) personally."  

Duerr's 5th Judicial Circuit covers Tallapoosa, Chambers, Macon and Randolph counties. Jeffcoat said he thought Duerr made a miscalculation given the circuit's Black population, the Democratic party's strongest demographic.   

"Those four counties are 39% African American," he said. "Thirty-nine. If I were a young African American attorney in say, Tuskegee, that would be a very tempting thing for me to get into."

However, Jeffcoat also stressed running a Democratic candidate in every race, even the long-shot races in a county that voted 71.3% Republican in the last presidential election.

"Running an aggressive race, even in a long-shot county, forces the other party to have to spend time and resources on a race that, if it's unopposed, they can just put all their resources and time into other races that are more competitive," he said. "That's not what we want. That's the importance of having candidates in every race."