Late Spring Hill gubernatorial candidate receives over 3,000 votes

Published 6:00 am Thursday, June 7, 2018

Tuscaloosa resident Holden McAllister was one of the 3,362 people in Alabama to vote for late Spring Hill gubernatorial candidate Michael McAllister Tuesday night in the Republican primary elections.

McAllister passed away in April, but his name remained on the ballot for the nation’s top office.

“I’ll tell you this, I voted for him,” said Holden McAllister, younger brother to Michael. “I knew it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that it would be (Kay) Ivey against (Walt) Maddox, so I thought ‘Well, in honor of my brother, I’ll at least vote for him. It’s like I told my family – he’s the one candidate on the ballot I know cannot possibly disappoint me.”

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McAllister came in last place behind the other four Republican candidates, garnering just over half a percent of the vote, but still more than his brother would have expected.

“He had a few thousand votes the last time I looked,” Holden McAllister said. “Well, you know, that surprises me – I don’t know how many votes came from people that had met him, I don’t know how many voted for him because they just didn’t like the others – some people just vote against the other candidates. I sort of glanced at that myself county by county. The best I can tell, he just picked up a handful of votes from all over – 30 votes here and there.”

In Pike County, he brought in 37 votes. There’s no way to tell whether those people here knew him or not – McAllister did few interviews before his death, did not communicate with the local Republican Party and appeared to be keeping a low profile since he qualified for the race in February.

Some of those voters may have come from some of the few people that really knew him though at Antioch Southern Baptist Church between Troy and Brundidge, where McAllister was an active member.

Churchmember Virgil Wilks said McAllister was a pleasant man to be around.

“I thought a lot of him,” Wilks said. I enjoyed his company.”

Wilks said McAllister only mentioned his campaign to Wilks once before he passed, handing him a card and saying that he was running for governor.

“I though he was kidding at first,” Wilks said. “But he might have made a good governor.”

Holden McAllister said he has no clue as to what led his brother to lead a “quixotic” campaign for the state’s top office.

“I spoke with him very little about his election – at first I thought he was just kind of kidding about it. You know, he’s not a politician.”

Holden McAllister described his brother a “simple, happy-go lucky” man.

“He had a little house, a tiny bit of land and his dog and he was a happy camper,” Holden McAlister said.

Michael McAllister served in the military when he was younger and then worked as a correctional officer in Montgomery before retiring.

“He was a Navy guy when he was young,” Holden McAllister said. “He was stationed in Okinawa; he wasn’t in combat duty, but he was a C.B. – he built structures and housing for soldiers and other things. Then he returned to Alabama to work as a correctional officer in Montgomery.”

Since retiring, he had begun experiencing health issues, the younger McAllister said.

“His health has been kind of an issue for a while; he wasn’t real active in the last 10 years or so,” Holden McAllister said. “He would have been 70 in May. I knew he had an interest in politics; I don’t know what motivated him to run for the top office in the state. He talked about having a lottery and trying to help veterans going through the VA system, I know that was important to him … his health (when he qualified to run) sort of deteriorated, so it wasn’t good timing – not to discount that it was a long-shot campaign at the very least.”

McAllister passed away at age 69 on April 8, 2018. Alabama Republican Chairman Terry Latham said his passing came at a point in the process where the ballot could not be changed.

“The ballots had already been printed; therefore, his name could not be removed,” Latham said. “The press alerted the public of his untimely passing. I also sent out a public statement of our sadness at his death and sent our most warm condolences to his family.”