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AL bill aimed at Senate special election elimination passes in h

AL bill aimed at Senate special election elimination passes in h

In the wake of the first Democratic U.S. Senate victory in Alabama in a quarter-century, state lawmakers are working to get rid of special elections for Senate. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 36 other states use the methods outlined in Clouse's bill. Republicans Reed Ingram of Pike Road, Dimitri Polizos of Montgomery and Chris Sells of Greenville voted for the bill. That single word created controversy previous year.

Republicans who support eliminating special elections for U.S. Senate frame the change as a cost-saving move.

Initially, now-former Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley had scheduled the election to replace Sessions to coincide with the 2018 midterm elections. Bentley resigned in April after pleading guilty to two campaign finance violations.

The move comes the month after Democrat Doug Jones defeated Republican Roy Moore in a special election in Alabama, flipping control of the seat previously held by now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions. It was after Bentley resigned in scandal that his replacement, Republican Gov. Kay Ivey, moved up the election to December 12. As such, while part of the inspiration for the bill in question is probably the fact that the state elected a Democrat, the reality is that the bill is not taking away choice, it is just determining when the choice happens. The measure passed in the lower legislative body by a mostly party-line vote, after Democrats were unable to stave it off with a two-hour filibuster.

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However, do I think this bill is a bad idea? The new governor, Kay Ivey, said there would be a special election.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Steve Clouse (R-Ozark), maintained that outcome had little to do with that race and instead was about its $11 million price tag.

"The governor still appoints under the present law, and you have appointments by the governor for all kinds of positions", he said. The appointment was tainted because many thought a quid pro quo had been offered so that then-state Attorney General Luther Strange would refrain from investigating Governor Bentley in exchange for the Senate seat (and, if anything, he couldn't investigate once he was a Senator).