Strange defeats King

Published 1:42 am Wednesday, June 2, 2010

MONTGOMERY (AP) — Birmingham lawyer Luther Strange defeated incumbent Troy King for the Republican nomination for Alabama attorney general, cutting down the political career of a statehouse figure once viewed as a possible candidate for governor.

With more than 90 percent of the votes counted, the vote wasn’t close — Strange had about 60 percent to 40 percent for King.

Montgomery lawyer James Anderson led the Democratic primary with just under the 50 percent needed to avoid a July 13 runoff. Finishing second, with about 31 percent, was Birmingham lawyer Giles Perkins. Mobile lawyer Michel Nicrosi finished third.

Strange had the backing of Republican Gov. Bob Riley and other top GOP figures in a bitter, closely watched race. Riley appointed King in 2004, but the two have since split in a heated dispute over electronic bingo.

Strange said he was pleased with his victory by a comfortable margin over the incumbent.

“We ran like we were 20 points behind,” Strange said Tuesday night. “We ran strong in all parts of the state. We did well in urban areas and rural areas.”

In other Statehouse races Tuesday, state treasurer Kay Ivey’s decision to drop out of the crowded governor’s race paid off as she won in a three-candidate race for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor, and former banker Young Boozer and retired banker Charley Grimsley won the Republican and Democratic nominations for state treasurer.

A snapshot of Statehouse races:

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR — Ivey had 57 percent of the vote and a more than 25 percent lead over State Sen. Hank Erwin in a three-candidate race. Ivey will face incumbent Lt. Gov. Jim Folsom Jr., a former governor, in the Nov. 2 general election. Folsom did not have opposition in the Democratic Primary.

Ivey began this election cycle running for governor, but dropped out of that crowded field in March to instead run for lieutenant governor.

STATE TREASURER — Former banker Young Boozer and retired banker Charley Grimsley will face each other in the general election race for treasurer.

Boozer won the Republican nomination Tuesday by defeating former treasurer George Wallace Jr. Boozer had 64 percent of the vote to 36 percent for Wallace, with more than 90 percent of the votes reporting.

In the Democratic Primary, Grimsley had 60 percent to 40 percent for Oneonta attorney Jeremy Sherer.

AGRICULTURE COMMISSIONER — Jasper farmer Dorman Grace and former Alabama Forestry Association executive vice president John McMillan are in a Republican runoff for state agriculture commissioner.

Both were drawing about 35 percent of the vote Tuesday night as Hoover businessman Dale Peterson became a factor and ran third with enough votes to keep anyone from winning outright.

The winner of the July 13 runoff will face the Democratic nominee, assistant state agriculture Commissioner Glen Zorn, in the fall.

McMillan and Dorman were the much better financed candidates, but Peterson received national attention and ridicule from an in-your-face ad on YouTube where he rode a horse, carried a gun and promised to run “thugs and criminals out of state government.

PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION — In the Republican Primary for Place 1 on the PSC, former Republican Party chairman Twinkle Cavanaugh had more than 49 percent of the vote in a three-candidate race. If she does not get over the 50 percent margin she would face a runoff against either Stephen Evans, a financial adviser in Dothan, or Greene County businessman and former county commissioner Chris Beeker. Evans had less than a 1 percent lead over Beeker in the race for a possible runoff position.

The winner will face incumbent Jan Cook, who has served on the commission for 20 years, in the Nov. 2 general election.

In the Republican Primary for Place 2 on the PSC, Etowah County business owner Terry Dunn was leading with 52 percent of the vote over Mobile commercial real estate broker Chip Brown. The winner will face incumbent commissioner Susan Parker.