Allen, Williams vie for house seat

Published 11:53 pm Friday, August 24, 2018

The race is on for the District 89 seat in the Alabama House of Representatives between Republican Wes Allen and Democrat Joel Williams.

Whichever candidate wins the seat will be replacing incumbent Rep. Alan Boothe, a Republican that has served in the position for the last 20 years.

Williams, a local attorney, challenged Boothe for the seat in 2014 and almost won, losing by less than 100 votes and carrying Pike County by 700 votes.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“I got so close last time,” Williams said. “I was outspent 3 to 1 and was running against a four-term incumbent. And I’ll always believe that I actually did win.”

Williams declined to file action or demand a recount after the close election despite some voters in at least one split precinct of Dale County not being given correct ballots to vote in the race.

Now he’s running again hoping he can recapture that success and just a bit more to put him over the top.

“It’s what I want to do,” Williams said. “I want to affect positive change and the most direct way to do that is to be able to shape law and policy. I do a lot of volunteer work, which is great, but if you want substantive change you’ve got to affect law and policy.”

Allen has served as probate judge for nearly 10 years in Pike County and he said he wants to take his perspective interacting with residents every day in the courthouse to the Legislature.

“We’re going to just keep doing what we’ve been doing in the probate office, which is represent our conservative values and continue to improve on government services and making things more efficient,” Allen said. “We’ve expanded services throughout our tenure and we have a great staff in place; and we’ve done it all with no extra burned on taxpayers … I’m very proud of our accomplishments.”

Allen said he can bring that experience to the legislature and make it work there.

“I’ve talked about bringing a courthouse view of what we’ve experienced to the State House,” Allen said. “We’re going to protect our conservative values and build on things we’ve been able to do in the courthouse. We’re going to advocate for the reasons we’ve been successful.”

Allen has already had one success in this election cycle, defeating Troy Council President Marcus Paramore in the June primary to earn the Republican nomination.

He plans to continue running the same campaign as he shifts his attention to his Democratic challenger.

“We’re going to work just as hard campaigning in the general election as we did in the primary,” Allen said. “We intend to campaign from every sector of House District 89 and highlight what we’ve been able to accomplish … Not going to change anything that we’ve done.”

Williams qualified in February for the race although he had not yet decided whether to run due to his wife’s battle with cancer.

“She went through two surgeries, 12 weeks of chemo and radiation,” Wiliams said. “She finished in January and I had to qualify in February. I just wasn’t sure, but my daughter said to go ahead and qualify, so that I could run if she gets better. ‘You can’t qualify before.’ So I did, but I took it slow seeing how she was doing.

Williams said she has now recovered and he feels comfortable beginning to really run his campaign for the general election.

The race is the only local contest on the ballot, with other races including district judge, circuit judge and probate judge all being decided in the Republican primary.

Allen said at a meeting of the Pike County Republican Women Wednesday that the lack of Democratic opposition for the Republican contenders shows a strong Republican base in the county. However, he said he would not be taking anything for granted.

“I expect Democrats to vote every election,” Allen said. “To say they have no energy on the other side would be a misstatement. “

Williams said he knows he has a tougher road by running as a Democrat, but said he is not a Republican and therefore would not run as one.

“I’m a Democrat; I’m not going to pretend I’m something I’m not for political expedience, and I have no respect for people who do,” Williams said. “It’s an immense hurdle in this part of the world. Regardless of who the Republican nominee is, I have a mountain to climb by having the Democratic label. I am a Democratic candidate for very substantive reasons.”

The race between the two candidates will be Tuesday, November 6. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Photo identification will be required.