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POLITICS: Campaigns

Alabama won't have husband, wife in Legislature

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Politics,Associated Press,Alabama,Campaigns

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama won't have a husband and wife serving in the Legislature at the same time.

Children's boutique owner Susan Hightower lost her bid Tuesday to join her husband, Republican Sen. Bill Hightower of Mobile, in the Legislature.

Mobile cab company owner Margie Wilcox defeated Hightower on Tuesday in the Republican runoff for House District 104 in Mobile County. Hightower led the primary, but Wilcox pulled ahead in the runoff after making an issue of whether one couple should hold the area's House and Senate seats.

Unofficial returns show Wilcox received 1,723 votes, or 51 percent, to Hightower's 1,657 votes, or 49 percent.

Veteran legislative employees said they could recall the spouse of a legislator serving in a city or county elective office, but never in the Legislature at the same time.

Wilcox advances to the general election Jan. 28 against Democrat Stephen Carr. The special election resulted from Republican Jim Barton of Mobile resigning from the House in August to join a Montgomery lobbying firm. The district covers part of Mobile County.

Two other special elections for the House were held Tuesday.

In House District 31, Mike Holmes, the former chairman of the Elmore County Republican Executive Committee, led Tuesday's Republican primary, but will be in a runoff Jan. 28 with Wetumpka car dealer Jimmy Collier.

Unofficial returns showed Holmes with 1,370 votes, or 41 percent, and Collier with 979 votes, or 29 percent. Pest control company owner Frank Bartarelli of Wetumpka ran third with 638 votes, or 19 percent. Tallassee attorney Michael Griggs was fourth with 349 votes, or 10 percent.

The district covers parts of Elmore and Coosa counties.

The House seat became open when Republican Barry Mask of Wetumpka resigned in September after being named chief executive of the Alabama Association of Realtors.

In House District 53 in Birmingham, Anthony "Alann" Johnson and Arthur Shores Lee will be in a runoff Jan. 28 to decide the Democratic nominee.

Johnson, an assistant pastor at Zion Star Baptist Church, led Tuesday's special primary election with 229 votes, or 41 percent, while Lee, an attorney, won 180 votes, or 33 percent. Retiree Frank Topping was third with 89 votes, or 16 percent, and Demetrius Newton Jr. drew was fourth with 54 votes, or 10 percent.

The winner of the runoff advances to the general election March 25 against Republican Willie "W.A." Casey, a Birmingham real estate broker.

The House seat became open when Newton's father, Democrat Demetrius Newton, died in September.

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