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Longtime Democrat the favorite for Ivey appointment

Governor Kay Ivey’s (R-AL) leading candidate for an important vacancy in Alabama’s largest county is a longtime Democrat.

Jefferson County Probate Judge Place 1, the presiding judge on the court, is vacant following the retirement of Judge Alan King in recent weeks.

Judge Sherri Friday, who has held the Place 2 position on the probate court since 2006, confirmed to Yellowhammer News in an email that she is seeking appointment to the Place 1 vacancy.

Friday said she has already submitted a resume and application to the governor’s appointment director.

Sources close to the situation tell Yellowhammer News that Friday is currently the leading contender for the appointment, even though she is an active member of the Democratic Party.

Friday was first elected as a Democrat and was reelected in 2012 and 2018 as a Democrat.

A search of the state’s online campaign finance database shows that Friday made four donations to Democratic entities or candidates last cycle, totaling $3,080.

This included two donations to then-State Rep. Patricia Todd (D-Birmingham). Todd infamously attempted to “out” Governor Ivey during that same campaign cycle, with the end result of Todd having her post-legislature job offer unceremoniously rescinded by the pro-LGBTQ+ “One Orlando Alliance.”

Friday, who has described U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) as her “good friend,” reported receiving three campaign donations from “Jones & Hawley” during the same cycle, totaling $2,500.

Jones & Hawley, now Hawley & Nicholson, was Jones’ law firm before he was sworn in as a senator. The other partner in the firm, Greg Hawley, is a Jefferson County conservator. This position is appointed by the county probate court.

In addition to her apparent political differences with the governor, a search of Friday’s social media activity also reveals that she shared a Facebook post critical of Ivey’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Asked about the appointment process for the vacant Jefferson County Probate Place 1 position, a spokesperson for Ivey’s office wrote that “the governor will be accepting applications.”

“Applicants being considered will be interviewed, and Governor Ivey will make her selection,” she added.

This is in contrast to the process used for circuit court vacancies in Jefferson County. By law, a county judicial commission recommends to the governor three applicants per vacancy for circuit court positions. The governor then selects an appointee from those three applicants.

Ivey’s office did not respond when asked on follow-up about Friday seeking the appointment.

If appointed to the Place 1 slot, Friday would assume the duty of serving as the county’s chief election official.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn