Special election set for Tuesday

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 2, 2005

Only three days remain for Albert Turner Jr. and Ralph A. Howard to convince District 72 voters that they should be the district’s next representative in the state House.

The special election will begin the morning of Tuesday, May 3. Poll locations have been identified, poll workers have been trained, and the campaign is in its frantic final moments as Turner (whose office has closed until May 9) and Howard (who has taken two weeks off from work) canvass the district.

That canvassing may be more difficult than some would realize. District 72 covers a wide area, stretching from east Marengo County (Linden included) across all of both Hale and Perry counties and snagging the southwest corner of Bibb County. The district does not include Demopolis, however.

Voters that do live in District 72 are strongly encouraged to make it to the polls Tuesday. To learn the location of their local polling place, voters will need to get in touch with their county’s Circuit Clerk’s office. In Marengo, that phone number is 295-2223; in Hale, 624-4334; in Perry, 683-6106.

In recent weeks both candidates have expressed confidence in pulling out a victory.

“We feel very good,” Turner said recently. “We are not going to count our chickens before they’ve hatched, but we’ve got a lot of chickens in the barn already.”

“This is a great opportunity,” Howard said at a recent Greensboro civic luncheon, “to give this district a new voice and a new vision. I’ve gotten out and I’ve worked the district, and I think I stand a good chance of winning.”

Turner’s campaign has primarily focused on his advantage in government experience on both the state and county levels. He has spent time working with the Alabama Department of Economic and Community affairs and currently serves on the Perry County Commission.

“If you take our records and our experience and compare mine to my opponent’s, there is no comparison,” Turner said recently. “I will be able to show the value of that experience when I get to Montgomery.”

Turner has also emphasized his friendship and connection to current state senator Bobby Singleton, whose election created the vacancy in the District 72 seat Turner seeks to fill.

“There will be no more excuses for not responding to the needs of the people,” Turner has said. “We have a clear vision and a clear plan. Two people can’t solve all our problems, but with our energy, know-how and drive, we can start hacking away at those problems.”

Howard has dedicated his campaign to spreading the word that he represents a new, more community-oriented, unifying voice.

“We have had too many politicians practicing personal politics. Good leadership is leadership where the community is involved, where all the concerns of the people are listened to,” he said recently. “I am not going to listen to one group of people, but all the people in the district.”

An ex-Marine, Howard says that while there are many difficulties facing the Black Belt and it will be an uphill struggle, he has experience in hard work and overcoming obstacles.

“We have a lot of challenges facing us,” he has said. “One thing I learned in the Marines is that we can’t be afraid of taking up and overcoming those challenges ahead of us.”

Voters will be able to choose which message they believe beginning Tuesday at 7 a.m. at their local polling place.