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State Sen. Whatley: Democrats choosing GOP nominee is ‘fraud’ against the party

Alabama Senate District 27’s Republican primary election has placed a spotlight on the issue of crossover voting, which has led to increased calls to close party primaries to voters of the opposite affiliation.

The Auburn area Senate district’s Republican primary contest, featuring State Sen. Tom Whatley (R-Auburn) and Auburn City Councilman Jay Hovey, appeared to have been decided by a single vote in the primary challenger’s favor after provisional ballots were counted.

Since then, Whatley and Hovey have engaged in a public relations battle seeking to claim the narrative over the election’s outcome.

Speculation has emerged that Hovey’s campaign benefited from crossover voting by Democrats participating in the hotly contested GOP primary election.

RELATED: State Sen. Whatley on crossover voting: ‘Democrats will do anything to steal elections’

After announcing last week that he was dropping a recount effort in favor of an election challenge that was brought forth by constituents, Whatley maintained that he was confident that he would emerge victorious by ensuring “all Republican votes are counted.”

In a statement provided to Yellowhammer News on Monday, Whatley doubled down on his calls to end the practice of crossover voting by way of legislative action.

“In 2017, I was proud to sponsor and pass the bill banning cross-over voting,” noted Whatley. “Primary Elections are about members of a political party selecting their candidate for the general, to intentionally vote in a primary for a party that you don’t support is fraud against that party.”

According to Whatley, his campaign identified multiple Democrats that partook in the 2020 Republican runoff election.

“In reviewing data from previous elections, my team discovered that more than 30 people in Lee County alone voted in the 2020 Democratic Primary Election and then were allowed to vote in the 2020 Republican run-off election,” advised the senator. “I consider it to be unacceptable for this number to be anything but zero. I have always been a champion of election integrity and it is important that the people voting tomorrow know that their elections are protected.”

Yellowhammer News will continue to monitor developments relating to the Senate District 27 primary election and provide updates accordingly.

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL