Even though it is not an election year, the Alabama political pot is heating up and beginning to boil as we celebrate the 4th of July, and the summer heat settles into the Heart of Dixie.

The 2024 candidates for some open state judicial posts have been stirring around all year, and also candidates for next year’s local elections are gearing up all over the state.  

There has also arisen a surprise election in Alabama’s largest county.  Imperial Jefferson County has a Special Election for a very important and pivotal county commission seat.  Republican Steve Ammons vacated this seat to take the post as CEO of the Birmingham Business Alliance.  In every other county in the state, a vacant county commission seat is filled by appointment by the governor.  However, Jefferson County has an unusual local amendment that calls for a Special Election.  This local act does not only call for a normal special election, but renders a weird, wild west open no primary Special Election.  It calls for a very quick, nonpartisan election similar to Louisiana.  There are no party primaries and no party labels.  Everybody and their brother can run, and the Jefferson County electorate has no way of knowing who they are, what they stand for, or their positions on anything.  All you have to do is get 100 signatures and you are on the ballot.  I am surprised that there are not 100 people running.  

This race also has only a short window.  People could start getting their 100 signatures around June first, and get this, the election is July 18.  You are looking at an election in less than two weeks in the middle of the summer that only affects 20% of the population of Jefferson County.  Folks, this one could very well break records for low voter turnout.  

However, it is a very important and pivotal election for a seat that will determine the partisan makeup of the state’s largest county.  The current makeup is two Republicans and two Democratic commissioners.  Republicans had a 3-2 advantage with Ammons on the Commission.  You would assume that the vacant Ammons’ seat would be filled by another Republican because it is made up of the most affluent enclaves in the state, which include Mountain Brook, Vestavia, Homewood, and silk stocking Hoover districts along the 280 corridor.  However, as stated, there are no party labels by any candidate, no forums, and no time to campaign – only a list of names. The assumption is a Republican will win.  However, the Homewood, Mountain Brook areas are one of the few enclaves of upscale, liberal do-gooder, white Democrats in the state.

It is imperative that the Republican Party in Jefferson County identify who their preferred Republican candidate is in this race and get out their vote.  It appears that they may have done just that and have chosen Judge Mike Bolin.  The election is just around the corner on July 18.

Justice Mike Bolin is like manna from Heaven for the Jefferson County Republicans. As the old saying goes, “he was at the right place at the right time.” Judge Bolin recently retired from the Alabama Supreme Court and has time on his hands, and this seat comes open.

Mike Bolin is one of the most respected and popular public servants in our state. He is also one of the most accomplished Jefferson County political figures of this era. He is Jefferson County through and through. He was born and raised in Homewood, went to college at Samford University and law school at Cumberland School of Law on Lakeshore Parkway in Homewood. He and his wife, who is also from Jefferson County, currently live in Vestavia.

Mike practiced law in Jefferson County for almost two decades, then was elected Probate Judge of Jefferson County where he served for 16 years. While serving as Probate Judge of Jefferson County, he was elected to the Alabama Supreme Court, where he served for 18 years. He is a man of upmost integrity. Jefferson County is fortunate to have him take on this task.

See you next week.