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There will be no recount of the Tallapoosa County Rocky Creek polling location for the Tom Whatley for State Senate Campaign. But the contesting of the results of the election where political newcomer Jay Hovey leads three-term incumbent Whatley by one vote for State Senate District 27 continues.

Whatley’s campaign informed the Tallapoosa County Republican Party of the request earlier this week. 

“The Whatley campaign withdrew the recount request Tuesday,” county chair Terry Martin said. “There are no other issues for the Tallapoosa County Republican Party to take up regarding the May primary.”

Tallapoosa County Probate Judge Tal East was prepared to recount the one precinct Thursday and had poll workers on standby to tally up the votes from Rocky Creek again.

“As far as I am concerned, the request by the Whatley campaign and the Tallapoosa County Republican Party to withdraw their requests for a recount of the Rocky Creek Baptist Church precinct concludes the matter,” East said. “We received no other recount requests prior to the statutory deadline. Any further comment would need to come from the campaigns involved.”

The Hovey and Whatley campaigns have been quiet on the matter since the count of provisional votes narrowed Hovey’s margin of victory from four to one. Whatley’s father Charles was one of at least two voters in Senate District 27 to file a contest with the Alabama Republican Party.

“I contest the nomination of Mr. Hovey based upon the casting of illegal votes in his favor and the rejection of legal votes in favor of Tom Whatley,” Charles Whatley said in a letter to the party. “The number of which would be sufficient to rightfully change the vote totals in favor of naming Tom Whatley as the nominee for the party.”

Charles Whatley attached an affidavit stating grounds for contesting the outcome. Whatley stated there was “malconduct on behalf of the inspector, canvassing board and/or others involved in the process of tallying, certifying and/or canvassing of votes.”

Whatley also contends more than two “illegal votes” were cast for Hovey and that more than two votes for his son were rejected in the final tally.

Whatley also alleged there was a “miscalculation, mistake, misconduct in counting, tallying, certifying or canvassing which of itself alone or in conjunction with the giving of illegal votes or the rejection of legals votes or any other ground would when everything is corrected, reduce the number of legal votes cast for the declared nominee Mr. Hovey down to or below those of Mr. Whatley in the race.”

Alabama Republican Party communications director Jeannie Negrón Burniston said the Alabama Republican Party Candidate Committee has met to set a date to hear the contests of four different races in Alabama.

“The contests are tentatively scheduled to start on June 25,” Burniston said. “The Committee will be complying with the process laid out in the applicable state statutes.”

It’s not the first time a state party has seen a contested race. In the 1986 campaign for governor, Charles Graddick received more votes in the Democratic primary but the party gave the nomination to Bill Baxley after it said Graddick encouraged Republican voters to cross over and vote in the Baxley-Graddick runoff, a decision held up in the courts.

 

Cliff Williams is a staff writer for Tallapoosa Publishers.

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