On Saturday, the Alabama Republican Party’s candidate committee removed three candidates from its May 24 primary ballot in state legislative races during its winter meeting in Birmingham.
Senate District 21 GOP hopeful Tripp Powell, Senate District 10 hopeful Teresa Rhea and House District 10 hopeful Anson Knowles were ousted from the ballot due to challenges to their candidacies as Republicans.
During an appearance on Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show” on Monday, Alabama Republican Party chairman John Wahl applauded the candidate committee for handling ballot challenges.
He argues the party set out to keep the ballots “pure” and expressed his confidence the committee acted to do so.
“[W]e take it extremely serious that we keep the Republican primary ballots pure,” he said. “And what I mean by that is we’re not going to let a Nancy Pelosi or Hillary Clinton come in and run on the Republican ticket. It’s not going to happen. Sometimes it gets hard. It’s very hard to know who is a Republican and who is not a Republican. The candidate committee makes those decisions, and I chair that committee. I choose not to take a vote because I feel like it is important the chairman dispense all the information to provide the body information they need to make the best decision.”
“It’s always a hard process for both sides — the challenger and the defendees, and for us as a committee because it is an uncomfortable situation,” Wahl continued. “But it’s an incredibly important part of the ballot process. I think it is always important to respect how hard that is and know the members do the best job they can. They’re not perfect. They may make a mistake, but they do the best job they can to make sure people know the Republican Party is keeping the ballots pure.”
Wahl said according to party rules, as an elected official, if one as a Republican endorsed or donated to a Democrat, they get “instant removal” from the ballot, which he said also applied to candidates.
However, he said no standard or statute of limitations applied, only that each candidate was evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
He also said the party stood by the committee’s decision.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that the candidate committee worked hard to make sure they made the best decision possible for the people of Alabama,” he added.
Wahl also addressed Alabama’s second congressional district hopeful Jeff Coleman’s candidacy.
Coleman attempted to qualify with the Republican Party by a deadline set by a lower federal court involving the Alabama Legislature’s redistricting decision.
However, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the court’s ruling, which nullified the new qualifying deadline by the Alabama Republican Party’s interpretation.
The federal court system is expected to make a ruling.
Wahl said he intended to follow the rule of law and his party’s internal bylaws.
“That’s very simple,” Wahl replied. “The party is committed to all sides. We want to hear from anyone who has an opinion. And so, we’re very much committed to following state laws and our internal bylaws. That’s where we’re at right now.”
@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.