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A spirit that is not afraid

Auburn students express opinion on upcoming primaries

<p>A vote here sign sits outside the Dean Road recreation center on Oct. 9, 2018, in Auburn, Ala.</p>

A vote here sign sits outside the Dean Road recreation center on Oct. 9, 2018, in Auburn, Ala.

Alabama voters will head to the polls on May 24 to cast their vote among a crowded candidate field. 

This election season comes on the heels of several recent events occurring that have sparked nationwide conversations including the Supreme Court’s potential decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Alabama’s passage of laws pertaining to LGBT youth in schools and massive nationwide inflation paired with soaring gas prices.  

Currently, Alabama’s Democratic ticket has six gubernatorial candidates and three senatorial candidates, while the more crowded Alabama Republican ticket has nine gubernatorial candidates and six senatorial candidates.

Auburn and Opelika residents will also have other elected positions on their ballot Tuesday including State Senate District No. 27 — a seat that has been held by Auburn alumnus, Tom Whatley, since 2010. 

Auburn students who are voting in Alabama have mixed emotions about the candidates in the upcoming elections.

"Being a Democrat in Alabama during primary season, a lot of it is watching what the republicans do," said Seth Johnson, senior and president of Auburn college democrats. 

Johnson said while there are tumultuous events happening around the country and state, and a Republican super-majority in the Alabama legislature, he and others remain optimistic and driven to stay involved in the political process 

"We're involved in our own elections and candidates obviously, but we're not naive," Johnson said. "Whoever is going to win the Republican primary for the Senate or Governor is probably going to take that office."

Jack Clem, junior in political science, said when assessing the field of candidates, the election comes down to how well he thinks a candidate will lead and represent the state now and in the future.  

Among the noise of campaign messaging, Clem explained a few key takeaways that he feels that campaigns across the state have effectivity communicated to him as a voter.

“Especially as a young voter, some of the key points I’ve gotten is that the future of Alabama is on the ballot — how we want the state to be perceived in the future," Clems said. “Also, they have tangible goals that they want to improve, like education.”

While Clem expresses his eagerness to vote and be involved in the democratic process, he doesn’t believe that young voters in Alabama are highly encouraged to vote, and he thinks that there is greater progress to be made in that effort. 

According to a poll by Emerson College and The Hill, Republican Senate candidate Katie Britt is currently winning over 32% of Republican primary voters, with Mike Durant following at 26% and Representative Mo Brooks at 25%. It is predicted that the Republican nominee will ultimately be decided in a primary run-off election on June 21.

In that same poll, it was revealed that Gov. Ivey is currently leading the Republican gubernatorial ticket with 45.9%, Tim James at 17.4% and Lindy Blanchard at 11.1%. 

In the Democratic gubernatorial race, Yolanda Flowers is leading her field at 29%. 

The Democratic candidates have focused their campaign messaging efforts on issues such as healthcare, education and criminal justice reform.  

Among the talking points of the Republican candidates, the major themes of education, state taxes and attacks on President Biden's handling of the economic hardships Americans are facing today are present in all of the candidates’ platforms. 

In mid-spring of this year, Rep. Brooks’ small lead above Britt and Durant began to slip further after a withdrawal of President Trump’s endorsement from Brooks. 

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In the gubernatorial race, Gov. Ivey has been able to hold a steady lead over her opponents in polls, especially following this year’s legislative session. Her lead has not gone unchallenged though, as many of her opponents have rebuked her decision to raise the state gas tax. 

Other statewide elected offices that will be present on the ballot include the State Supreme Court Associate Justice, which is being battled between Greg Cook and State Rep. Debbie Wood. 

Rep. Mike Rogers is also faced with an opponent, Mike Joiner, for Alabama’s third Congressional district.  

In the event of a runoff election, it will be held Tuesday, June 21. The general election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 8. 

Jonathan Stuckey | Columnist

Jonathan Stuckey, sophomore majoring in political science and public relations, is a columnist for The Plainsman. 


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