Baldwin votes bring victory for challenger

Published 1:08 pm Thursday, November 9, 2006

By By Lisa Tindell
Montgomery politicians will be seeing a new face soon as the representation for District 66 changes hands.
In a final tally of votes in Escambia County, incumbent F.P. "Skippy" White had a slight lead over challenger Alan Baker. Total votes in Escambia County found White ahead by a vote of 3616 to Bakers 3350.
But with some 26.5 percent of the voters who could choose a representative for the district falling in Baldwin County, the difference came late in the evening.
Baldwin County favored Baker by enough of a margin to allow him to claim a victory. Baldwin voters upped the totals to 5,007 votes for Baker, while White was upped to 4,419 vote.
By a margin of 322 votes across the district, Baker was the apparent winner in the race.
In an early acceptance speech Tuesday night, Baker expressed excitement over the opportunity he has been handed by the voters.
"I'm excited about the opportunity that I've been given," Baker said, as his wife, Kaki, stood by his side. "I look forward to being a part of a better Alabama."
As of 10:15 p.m. Tuesday night, with only two Baldwin County boxes uncounted, incumbent F.P. "Skippy" White said it would be hard for him to make up the deficit, but he was not willing to concede.
"I probably will not be able to make that up in Baldwin County because there are so many people down there that vote straight Republican ticket," White said.
In referring to the campaign, Baker said he had no regrets with the way his campaign was run.
"I told Kaki early on that if I won this race I would put my efforts into serving the people of this district. That's what I intend to do," he said.
Throughout the evening Baker expressed thanks to those in attendance at the election headquarters set up at The Ritz in downtown Brewton. Among an array of balloons, patriotic centerpieces, family members and friends were there to cheer on their favorite candidate.
"I came home from Dublin, Ga., to be with my brother," Mickey Baker said. "I wouldn't miss it for anything. I'm very proud of him."
Molly Ruzic, Baker's niece, and Paula Gerety worked most of the evening manning the phones and the tote boards that kept well-wishers on hand up to date with the late election results.
Also on hand for the evening's festivities and the grand finale of victory, was Baker's mother, Mary Ann Baker.
"I'm so proud of him no matter what he does," Mrs. Baker said. "I'm so proud."
Baxter Baker, the candidate's brother, was also on hand for the event and was in great spirits throughout the evening.
"I think he may be a little nervous," Baxter Baker said. "He's always up and ready to go. It's a very exciting time for him. I'm certainly proud of him."
White decided to listen for the results of the race from his home in Pollard. He expressed his gratitude to those he has served over the years.
"I want to say that the longest serving representative before me was eight years and I was given 24 years by this great county and want to thank them so much for being so good to my family and I," White said. "Words can't express my gratitude for the people of Escambia County, they've been real good to me for a long time."
Baker will assume his post in Montgomery after he is sworn into office in January 2007.
Advance publisher Adam Prestridge contributed to this report.

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