Much of the discussion concerning elections in 2018 will understandingly focus on mid-term Congressional contests across the country as Democrats attempt to unseat Republican advantages in the U.S. House and Senate.

Elections in Virginia and New Jersey gave Democrats some hope as they won some key races after the shocking victory by Republican Donald Trump as president only a few months earlier.

Then, Democratic hopes were boosted in Alabama by Doug Jones’ victory over Republican Roy Moore in December for the U.S. Senate seat that was held for 20 years by Jeff Sessions before he was appointed Attorney General by Trump, who endorsed Moore over Jones — the first Democrat elected to an Alabama Senate seat since 1992.

As we turn to the 2018 elections in Alabama, key races will be for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. Current Republican Gov. Kay Ivey intends to run for a full term after moving up to the governorship following the resignation of Robert Bentley amid an alleged affair with one of his top advisors.

Whether former Attorney General Luther Strange, who was appointed by Bentley to fill the seat vacated by Sessions, will run for governor or his old AG seat — or maybe his old Senate seat — has fueled speculation.

Former Attorney General Troy King says he running for his old office. Also putting her hat in the ring is Alice Martin, former U.S. Attorney and top aide to Strange in the AG office.

While national and state political races will garner much attention, our local political plate is plenty full and interesting.

Incumbent District 82 Alabama House of Representatives member Pebblin Warren of Shorter already has challengers in Johnny Ford and Terrence Johnson. All are Democrats.

A former eight-term mayor of Tuskegee, Ford once held the District 82 seat before resigning when he won back the mayor’s race in 2012. Ford was defeated for reelection as mayor by Tony Haygood in 2016.

Two Macon County Commission seats are on the ballot this year — District 2 held by Edward “Coach” Huffman and District 4 where long-time Commissioner Mike Berry is running for reelection, as is Huffman.

Running against Berry is Frank Dillman, who ran and lost the County Commission Chairman race to Louis Maxwell in 2016 as an independent. Dillman is a frequent critic of how the Commission takes care of business.

Also scheduled to be open in 2018 is Macon County Sheriff. Incumbent Andre’ Brunson will run for a second term as the County’s top law enforcement office. The Circuit Clerk position held by David Love is on the ballot and Love says he will be a candidate for reelection.

Perhaps the two most intriguing races will be open following retirements of long-serving Probate Judge Alfonza Menefee and Circuit 5 Judge Tom Young, who is stepping down after 18 years in office.

Several hopefuls have announced their intention to run for Menefee’s seat that he is departing because his age of 70 requires him to step down. Hoping to follow Menefee are: David Clinkscales, Franklin Town councilman; Tracy Moon, probate office tag office employee; Deidree Harkless, administrative assistant in the probate office; Linda Henderson, local attorney; and James Cooper, who is involved in technology at Tuskegee University.

Word is that Attorney Mike Segrest will seek the Fifth Circuit Judge seat.

Qualifying begins Jan. 8 and it promises to be an exciting and interesting election year from top to bottom.

Guy Rhodes is editor and publisher of The Tuskegee News. He is a former recipient of the Distinguished Alabama Community Journalist Award and multi-time winner in the Alabama Press Association contest for Best Editorial Column or Commentary. He can be reached by email at guynrhodes@bellsouth.net

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