Ahead of the Jan. 9 special election in Alabama Senate District 9, the Alabama Education Association has communicated an endorsement of Rep. Wes Kitchens through a direct mail advertisement sent across the district.
The race is deeply contested between two incumbents in the Alabama House, Kitchens (R-Arab) and Rep. Brock Colvin (R-Albertville)
Yellowhammer News confirmed the authenticity of the mail piece, which landed in mailboxes across the district that covers parts of Blount, Marshall and Madison counties.
The group’s support and financial backing has remained a contentious issue among Alabama Republicans, with the ALGOP State Executive Committee voting to ban AEA donations to certain types of partisan campaigns, including school board and county superintendent principal committees.
The organization donated $1.5 million to state legislative candidates in 2022.
In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Kitchens said, “I’ve always been a friend of our local schools, public, private and homeschooling. I have served as the Chairman of the Pre-K commission that promoted expansion of our nationally recognized Pre-K program so 4 year olds around Alabama have access to a strong educational foundation.
”As the next State Senator from Blount, Madison and Marshall counties, I’m committed to adequate funding and providing students and teachers what they need to be successful in the classroom. I come from a family of teachers and coaches. It makes sense that those employees, nearly 3,000 of them, that call Senate District 9 home would support my campaign on January 9th.”
The endorsement attracted the ire of pro-school choice advocates on Twitter, which is expected to be a major legislative sticking point for some in the 2024 legislative session.
The Alabama teachers union endorsed @wes_kitchens for the Republican primary election.
This endorsement should be the political kiss of death for any Republican.@GovernorKayIvey wants to pass school choice. He'd work against it.
— Corey A. DeAngelis, school choice evangelist (@DeAngelisCorey) December 26, 2023
RELATED: AEA choice: PAC money flowing to GOP
Earlier this month, Yellowhammer News reported on the first-month fundraising haul shared among the GOP candidates seeking the consequential seat in the higher chamber.
While Colvin reported the largest first-month fundraising total, Kitchens eclipsed that figure in total cash on hand, with $134,539 going into December. Kitchens is serving his second term in the House while Colvin is a freshman member. Some of that balance was transferred from Kitchens’ House campaign committee.
Since 2018, campaign finance data shows Kitchens’ top donor since 2018 has been the Alabama Education Association.
Grayson Everett is the state and political editor for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @Grayson270