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Special election primary Tuesday for Montgomery’s HD 74 seat

MONTGOMERY — A primary will be held Tuesday in the special election race for Alabama House District 74, which became vacant upon the tragic passing of beloved State Rep. Dimitri Polizos (R-Montgomery) in March.

There is only one Democrat on the ballot.

Michael Fritz, Tobias Grant, Jesse Caleb Heifner, Jay King, Charlotte Meadows and Daniel Sparkman are running for the Republican nomination.

Polling has consistently shown Meadows leading, boosted by her relatively high name identification in the district given her prior run for this seat and her service on the Montgomery County Board of Education.

However, Yellowhammer News has seen polling leading up to Tuesday that pointed to Sparkman closing the gap.

Yet, as in all special elections, turnout will determine who leads the only poll that matters at the end of Election Day. The primary has been pretty tame thus far, but things heated up a little bit on the last day of campaigning when Meadows’ campaign posted on Facebook that she had been endorsed by the National Rifle Association (NRA) Political Victory Fund (PVF), despite the fact that the NRA has not endorsed anyone in the race.

Meadows quickly took the post down and replaced it with a new message that reflects the reality of her having received an “AQ” grade, which is the highest possible for a non-incumbent. The “Q” stands for the NRA questionnaire that these non-incumbent grades are based off of.

Sparkman has also received an “AQ” grade. Grant and King both received a “F” grade. Heifner and Fritz both received a “?” grade.

The NRA-PVF describes a “F” grade holder as: “True enemy of gun owners’ rights. A consistent anti-gun candidate who always opposes gun owners’ rights and/or actively leads anti-gun legislative efforts, or sponsors anti-gun legislation.”

The “?” grade is explained as: “Refused to answer the NRA-PVF candidate questionnaire or a candidate who has made contradictory statements or taken positions that are inconsistent with the candidate’s answers to the NRA-PVF candidate questionnaire or previous record. A rating of ‘?’ often indicates indifference, if not outright hostility, to gun owners’ and sportsmen’s rights.”

Monday’s Facebook incident came after Meadows’ campaign recently sent out a mailer that says she is the “only candidate ever endorsed by NRA” in the race. This is alluding to her 2014 primary runoff endorsement by the NRA when she was running against Polizos.

In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Sparkman said, “It’s an honor to receive the highest rating possible by the NRA-PVF. I’m also thankful for a 100% Pro-Gun rating from the National Association for Gun Rights.”

He added, “Once elected, I will continue to fight for the rights of gun owners and will always protect the second amendment.”

Meadows is endorsed by the Alabama Farmers Federation and the Alabama Forestry Association in the race.

HD 74 residents can find their polling place here.

Polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday.

A Republican primary runoff, if necessary, will be held on the same date as Montgomery’s mayoral election – Tuesday, August 27 – and the general election is scheduled for Tuesday, November 12.

If a Republican candidate in Tuesday’s primary gets over 50% and a runoff is not necessary, the general election will be August 27.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

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