Baker forgoes Senate race

Published 3:49 pm Wednesday, February 18, 2009

By By Adam Prestridge
In a prepared statement Monday morning, State Rep. Alan Baker, R-Brewton, announced he will not pursue the District 22 seat left open by the death of state Sen. Pat Lindsey.
"Having spent time considering the best interests of my family, first and foremost, along with my current opportunity to support the interests of south Alabama, and weighing concerns for the broader political scope, I officially announce that I will not seek the vacant seat for State Senate District 22 at this time," Baker wrote.
Baker said he was encouraged to pursue the seat by numerous people, but felt it in his best interest to focus in on his current position.
"With the unexpected vacancy in State Senate District 22, I have received strong encouragement and support from a broad base to seek the position," Baker said. "I have maintained from the beginning that I am very committed to my current position and service as State Representative, but I would carefully consider and weigh the options. I do humbly appreciate the encouragement and support extended to me during this time of consideration for the position of state senator."
Baker also expressed that the election process would be lengthy and did not want to take away from his duties as state representative.
"Based on the potential outcome of the Special Election for State Senate District 22 combined with two other State Senate Special Elections to be held in the next few months, the dynamics within the body of the Senate could have a foreseeable change," Baker wrote. "With such added emphasis to the vacant Senate seat, I felt the obligation and responsibility to be objective with my careful consideration of the open seat."
With Baker’s decision, the field is set for the campaign.
Three Republicans and one Democrat will vye for the seat, which Democrat Lindsey held for more than 20 years. Former police officer Danny Joyner of Brewton, businesswoman Judy Belk of Citronelle and former state Rep. Greg Albritton of Evergreen will seek the Republican nomination for the seat in the April 14 primary. State Rep. Marc Keahey of Grove Hill is the only Democratic candidate.
Qualifying ended Tuesday.
A primary runoff, if necessary, will be June 2, with the general election June 21. If no primary runoff is necessary, the general election will be June 2.
Joyner is currently the CEO of Safety &Security Consultants Inc. He said economic development is key to his campaign.
Belk, who is involved in developing assisted living facilities in the region, said she is familiar with the issues that face the Senate district.
Albritton said he would fight for conservative values. “I have proven that I will fight against higher taxes, will fight to protect our family values, and will do everything in my power to bring more jobs and industry to our communities,” Albritton said.
Keahey has been endorsed for the office by Lindsey’s two children. “I will work to improve education, create and secure more economic opportunity and insure that law enforcement is given the tools they need to keep our communities safe,” Keahey said.
Brewton Standard publisher Kerry Whipple-Bean contributed to this story.

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