Qualifying Begins

Published 9:37 am Wednesday, March 3, 2010

By By Adam Prestridge
With the June primary approaching, several candidates have announced their intent to run, and Republican candidates began qualifying for their races on Tuesday.
Some candidates wasted no time qualifying, including Atmore’s Lloyd Albritton, who announced his candidacy for sheriff of Escambia County.
If he wins the primary or has no Republican opposition, Albritton would be pitted against Democratic incumbent Grover Smith, who announced his bid for re-election to a third term last week.
Smith began his law enforcement career as a part-time officer in Flomaton. He later worked as a patrolman in East Brewton and Brewton, spending 22 years with the Brewton Police Department, 12 of them as chief. He also worked for the district attorney’s office for four years.
Albritton, 62, said he believes he has a “firm” foundation in law enforcement after serving in the United States Army as a criminal investigator where he has investigated a variety of different crimes.
Albritton currently serves on the Escambia County Republican Executive Committee and as a delegate to the Alabama Republican State Executive Committee. He is a retired businessman working in manufacturing, telecommunications and financial services.
Smith called being sheriff “the best job I’ve ever had, except for being a patrolman.”
Smith said he believes what voters want to know is whether he will “be there for them.”
During Smith’s two terms in office as sheriff, he has raised money for the department by seeking grants and by housing federal inmates, which itself generated more than $2.6 million for the sheriff’s department, he said.
Smith said he has also launched programs to help senior citizens, including Project Lifesaver and Are You OK?
Albritton said although he “views” the sheriff’s office as a position of law enforcement, he also views it as much more than that. He added that he has no issues with the current administration.
Smith said he invites residents to call him with questions or concerns about the department.
Senate District 22
Also Tuesday, Atmore business owner and Escambia County Republican Party Chairman Jeff Peacock announced his intentions to seek the Senate District 22 seat, currently held by Sen. Marc Keahey, D-Grove Hill, in the June 1 primary election. He is planning to qualify later this week.
Peacock said he is looking at the election from a business prospective.
Keahey has been qualified for several weeks. He took over the seat following the untimely death seven-term democratic Sen. W.H. “Pat” Lindsey in January 2009.
Keahey has made headlines recently after proposing Senate Bill 381, which would set up a gaming commission, limit bingo to only eight sites and tax those gaming facilities and require them to make substantial investments not only in gaming, but also in other enterprises.
Peacock, 40, is owner of The Paper Station in downtown Atmore where he currently resides.
House District 66
Also Tuesday, state Rep. Alan Baker qualified to run for re-election in House District 66.
On the ballot
Six county offices will be on the ballot this year: sheriff, county commission districts 1, 3 and 5, and county school board districts 4 and 6. The dates for qualifying are March 2 through April 2 at 5 p.m.
The qualifying fee for local county offices is $50. Qualifying forms and fees must be filed with Peacock, chairman of the Escambia County Republican Executive Committee. Qualifying forms are available now.
Primary elections will be held on Tuesday, June 1, and a runoff primary election, if necessary, will be held on Tuesday, July 13.
The general election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 2.
The Escambia County Democratic Party will meet Thursday to determine qualifying dates.
Kerry Whipple Bean contributed to this story

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