MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Attorney General Troy King narrowly defeated Democratic District Attorney John Tyson Jr. Tuesday in the culmination of a campaign that featured differing views about the role of the state's top prosecutor.
King said his victory Tuesday proved that voters agreed with his take on how the office should function and didn't buy into Tyson's labeling of him as a politician rather than a prosecutor and out of touch with how to fight crime.
"We built a great record and I think the people of Alabama understood that the attorney general has a responsibility to make sure Alabama is a safe place for our children and a safe place for seniors," King told The Associated Press shortly after he was declared the winner.
In another contentious race, Republican Beth Chapman soundly defeated incumbent Democratic Secretary of State Nancy Worley, who had struggled to keep her job in the wake of a series of court actions that cast a cloud over her performance.
Chapman, who left her office as state auditor to challenge Worley, would not talk about how the unflattering campaign ads she ran against her opponent factored in the race, saying the only thing that mattered was that "the voters have chosen me and I am honored."
"I'd rather look to the future and not the past," Chapman said from her Birmingham victory party. "It is my hope that Mrs. Worley and I will be able to have a smooth transition as soon as I'm allowed in office. We will hit the floor running."
D'Linell Finley, political scientist at Auburn University Montgomery, said King's skill at avoiding issuing opinions in controversial issues and Worley's missteps early in her tenure likely contributed to their respective success and failure.
"When you win a very close race the first time around, rather than adding any conflict to your list of things to do, you probably need some bridge building," Finley said of Worley. "Looking back, I think she probably wishes she would have started mending some fences early on."
Democrat Susan Parker handily defeated former state Rep. Perry Hooper Jr. in the race for the PSC Place 2 seat that was vacated by George Wallace, Jr. The two had accused each other of accepting campaign money from Political Action Committees that were tied to utilities.
Republican Samantha Shaw overcame Democrat Janie Baker Clarke for the state auditor position. Shaw's husband, Greg Shaw, was victorious in retaining his seat on the court of Criminal Appeals, making them the first married couple to be elected to statewide office in Alabama.
Alabama Public Service Commissioner Jan Cook was victorious in her fifth bid for the Place 1 seat, holding off Republican challenger former state Sen. John Rice, and Democratic Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks withstood a challenge from GOP former state Sen. Albert Lipscomb. Sparks has said food safety would be a top priority in his second term.
Republican State Treasurer Kay Ivey, a veteran statehouse figure, won a second term against Democrat Steve Segrest, who had criticized Ivey's banking ties and said it was time for the 62-year-old incumbent to retire. But Ivey told supporters at a victory party Tuesday night that she was "not finished yet."
"The peoples' treasury is the peoples' business," she said. "There are more improvements that can and should be made and we're going to get on and get those done."
Pick up dash matter; King, 38 xxx