With qualifying seven months away, at least one person in Lawrence County has publicly announced plans to run for circuit judge, one of a dozen positions open in the county next year.
Last week, Lawrence County Assistant District Attorney Callie Chenault Waldrep announced she would seek the judgeship against incumbent Mark Craig.
The other county positions on the 2022 ballot are district judge, district attorney, sheriff, coroner, all five County Commission district seats and school board districts 1 and 4.
Both the Democratic and Republican leaders in Lawrence County said they expect their parties to field close to a full slate of candidates for primaries May 24.
Republicans have incumbents in 10 of the 12 positions on the ballot, and Daniel Stover, GOP chair of the executive committee, said he sees a repeat of the party’s wins. He doesn’t believe the District 1 positions on the County Commission and school board in the northern part of the county will have Republican representation on the ballot.
“All (Republican incumbents) have told me they plan to run for reelection,” Stover said. “Our guys have done a decent job, and the residents here appear happy with them.”
Stover said he sees the County Commission District 5 seat up for grabs among several interested Republicans. Gov. Kay Ivey is expected to appoint a person to fill out the tenure of three-term District 5 Commissioner Joey Hargrove, who died March 22 in a motorcycle-car collision on Alabama 24. Five people, including Hargrove’s widow Sonya, applied to fill out his term, which ends Jan. 23, 2023.
Marcus Echols said the election of Democratic President Joseph Biden should filter additional support down to the local level.
“I’m hoping his election will help us here at the grassroots,” said Echols, who became the county’s first Black Democratic executive committee chair in September. “I believe it will energize us, and we’ll see the domino effect. The Alabama Democratic Conference in Montgomery has promised to send more support and money. We haven’t always had 100% of its support, maybe because the county is seen as being red, but we’re working to change that.”
Echols said the local party should have names of potential candidates in the next few weeks.
“It’s my goal to have candidates in each race,” he said. “We need some Democrats to step forward and run. There’s no reason we can’t capitalize on the Democrats in Washington.”
Lawrence Probate Judge Greg Dutton said the dozen races will follow a difficult but “fair and balanced” 2020 election cycle, which took place with precautions for the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 200 staff and volunteers worked the 2020 elections in the county, he said.
Dutton said anyone interested in serving as a poll worker or anyone who has questions about the 2022 election can contact his office at 256-974-2439.
The general election featuring the gubernatorial race is set for Nov. 8, 2022.
2022 Lawrence elections
Circuit judge: six-year term, annual salary $140,000. Incumbent: Mark Craig.
District judge: six-year term, annual salary $139,000. Incumbent: Angela Terry.
District attorney: six-year term, annual salary $140,000. Incumbent: Errek Jett.
Sheriff: four-year term, annual salary $68,274.22. Incumbent Max Sanders
Coroner: four-year term, annual salary $17,800. Incumbent: Scott Norwood.
Commissioner: four-year term, annual salary $25,303.52. Incumbents: District 1 Jesse Byrd, District 2 Norman Pool, District 3 Kyle Pankey, District 4 Bobby Burch, District 5 vacant. Gov. Kay Ivey is expected to appoint a commissioner to fill out the term of Joey Hargrove, who died in a motorcycle-vehicle accident on March 22.
School board member: six-year term, annual salary $7,200; Incumbents: District 1 Christine Garner, District 4 Shanon Terry.