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By the bus load

The Alabama Republican Party’s “Hometown Connection” bus opened a campaign tour of all 67 counties yesterday, stopping in Demopolis and Linden in the first day of its five-week trek.

Three statewide candidates were able to make the trip through Marengo County, including Court of Criminal Appeals candidates Beth Kellum and Mary Windom and candidate for president of the Public Service Commission Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh.

The tour will make 29 stops in this first week, and will make 106 stops over its five-week journey.

The group was joined by retired district judge Peggy Givhan and tour coordinator Bill Goolsby.

The bus was greeted by Demopolis mayor Cecil P. Williamson as well as Andy Renner, chair of the Republican Party of Marengo County, and Drew Johnston.

“I’ve been on a statewide tour 10 or 15 times,” Goolsby said. “This is the first time we’ve ever done anything like this. We just thought we’d do this, and it turned out better than we hoped.”

“This is the first time they’ve hit all 67 counties,” said Renner. “I’m happy to see statewide candidates interested in the rural areas. I’m glad so many of them got to come.”

Two other candidates scheduled to take part in the tour — Supreme Court candidate Greg Shaw and Court of Civil Appeals candidate Bill Thompson — were unable to make the tour yesterday for personal reasons.

The tour kicked off in Selma yesterday, and the bus made its way to Marion, Greensboro, Eutaw, Demopolis and Linden. Today, scheduled stops include Fort Deposit, Camden, Monroeville, Frisco City and Uriah. The bus will return to this area on Thursday, when it makes a stop in Grove Hill at noon and Thomasville at 1 p.m.