By Kaitlin Fleming
Etowah County finished a few thousand voters short of reaching the voter turnout that the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election brought. 34,690 ballots were cast on Tuesday (Nov. 6), which was less than half of the registered voters in the county.
Straight party voting benefited the Republicans this time around with 13,334 Republican straight ticket votes cast in Etowah County alone compared to 5,016 straight Democrat tickets.
Locally, several judicial seats swapped hands. Circuit Judge Place Number 3 saw Sonny Steen (Rep.) beat out incumbent David Kimberly (Dem.), with Steen gaining 21,456 votes to Kimberly’s 12,382. Circuit Judge Place Number 4 was an interesting race with three candidates. Cody Robinson (Rep.) picked up 19,345 votes, Morgan Cunningham (Dem.) gathered 8,236 votes and Elizabeth Haney (Ind.) gained 6,456 votes. Etowah County Judge of Probate race saw Scott Hassell (Rep.) pull ahead of James E. “Jay” Hedgspeth III (Dem.) with Hassell taking 64.10 percent of the votes compared to Hedgspeth’s 35.80 percent.
Republicans also gained local state senate and state house seats. State House District 29 saw Jared Millican (Dem.) defeated by Becky Nordgren (Rep.) with Millican receiving 20.78 percent of the votes to Nordgren’s 79.22 percent. In State House District 28, Gil Isbell (Rep.) was favored over Kyle Pierce (Dem.) with Isbell winning 7,079 votes to Pierce’s 5,715 votes. In State House District 30, Craig Lipscomb (Rep.) defeated Jared Vaughn (Dem.) with Lipscomb grabbing 82.51 percent of the vote to Vaughn’s 17.49 percent. In State Senate District 10, Etowah favored newcomer Andrew Jones (Rep.) over current State Rep. Craig Ford (Ind.), with Jones picking up 25,810 votes to Ford’s 16,699. .
“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as your state representative over the last 18 years,” said Ford in a statement. “I am proud of what we were able to accomplish during that time, and I hope to continue serving this community in other ways as we go forward. We started this campaign based on an ideal.
“Yes, we wanted a lottery, better roads and bridges, and stronger support for our public schools. But we also set out to change the tone of politics and send a message that we are tired of politicians putting their political parties ahead of the best interest of the people.”
Ford noted that he loved serving Etowah County and would continue to serve in any way he could, including a possible run for office and another tour in the military.
For the statewide elections, Etowah County stayed fairly consistent across the board. Kay Ivey held 23,940 votes, Steve Marshall held 23,492 and Will Ainsworth held 24,751 votes. The votes gained in Etowah County matched statewide results. For the governorship, incumbent Kay Ivey (Rep.) beat out Walt Maddox (Dem.) 1,019,568 votes to 691,670. For attorney general, Steve Marshall (Rep.) defeated Joseph Siegelman (Dem.) 1,001,621 to 699,988 votes. For lieutenant governor, Will Ainsworth (Rep.) overcame newcomer Will Boyd (Dem.) with 1,042,028 votes to 657,040.
These results were gathered from the Etowah County Unofficial Report of Election Results. These outcomes are final but the numbers are subject to change once provisional ballots have been investigated and counted.