Overflow Crowd Attends Cullman County Republican Breakfast

by | Feb 11, 2018 | Breaking News, City, County, Courthouse, Images, Legislators, Politics, School Board, Senator Paul Bussman, Videos

IMAGES Cullman Kiwanis Club Pancake Day 2017
Overflow Crowd Attends Cullman County Republican Breakfast

The Cullman County Republican Party reconvened regular monthly breakfast meetings Saturday after a three-month hiatus for the Holidays.

The turnout was heavy. Participants filled the main meeting room of the Cullman Elks Lodge beyond capacity. An adjoining second room had to be opened to accommodate the overflow.

With Alabama Attorney General candidate Chess Bedsole as the keynote speaker along with many freshly qualified Republican candidates on the bill, this event drew the largest audience in recent memory for this influential Cullman political group.

The meeting itself went well beyond the usual one-hour timeframe. No one seemed to mind as the enthusiastic, thoughtful, newly qualified candidates ramped up Election Season 2018 to the next level.

With a large number of participants and buzz from the final day of qualifying on Friday, this meeting could have easily wandered off the rails. It did not though. Chairman Waid Harbison somehow kept order while respectfully expediting the flow of speakers.

Alabama Attorney General candidate Chess Bedsole spoke to this body back in the Fall of 2017. The AG hopeful was well received at that time, but his remarks then were tepid and not fully formed.

Chess Bedsole circa 2018 is a potent political force.

Leading his race with the most campaign funds available, Bledsoe told the big crowd exactly what was on his mind. He tore into what he believes is an Alabama State Attorney General’s office that is unfit to serve due to their ties to now disgraced former Governor Robert Bentley.

Rare in a meeting room filled with experienced, knowledgeable political minds, Bledsole got many people’s attention and undoubtedly converted many attendees to his point of view.

On a local level, 11th hour, surprise election fillings on Friday had the crowd on the edge of their breakfast plates with City of Cullman City Council President Garlan Gudger shocking all political observers by jumping into a race against 2-term incumbent Paul Bussman for the District 4 Alabama State Senate seat.

Gudger declined to interact with the media Friday and early Saturday in deference to the Cullman County Republican Party.

He told us before his remarks:

“Tim, I did not call back any media Friday night as they learned of my qualifying on Friday. I wanted to address this group first and make my candidacy public in this place, with these people. That was very important to me. It is the right way to handle this announcement.”

We carried his remarks live on social media:

Other surprising late entrants who took the podium included perennial candidate Melvin Hastings who is running for Circuit Judge against incumbent Martha Williams, and Carol Berry tackling incumbent Judge of Probate Tammy Brown.

Republican candidates dominate the field in Election Season 2018.

However, two local Democrats are taking their chances against the likely GOP wave: former multi-term Cullman County Coroner Gary Murphree takes on a 2014 rematch with now incumbent Coroner Jeremy L. Kilpatrick. A familial relative of newly elected Democratic U.S. Congress Doug Jones – Terrie Jones Savage – joins the crowded fray for the Alabama House District 9 race.

Below is the definitive final list of qualified candidates running for various state and local offices – both Democrats and Republicans.

THOSE who spoke at Saturday’s breakfast meeting are denoted with ALL CAPS.

√ = Officially qualified to run for office
(i) – incumbents
(R) = Republican
(D) = Democrat

Alabama State Senator
District 4
√ PAUL BUSSMAN (R) (i)
√ GARLAN GUDGER (R)

Alabama State Representatives
District 9 – open seat
√ SCOTT STADTHAGEN (R) of Hartselle
√ James R. Bowling (R) of Battleground
√ Justin Morrow (R) of Hartselle

√ Terrie Jones Savage (D)

District 11
√ RANDALL SHEDD (R) (i)

District 12
√ COREY HARBISON (R) (i)
√ ALEX CHANEY (R) (i)

Associate Cullman County Commissioners
Place 1
√ Kerry Watson (R) (i)

Place 2
√ GARRY MARCHMAN (R) (i)
√ ANDY C. COFFEY (R)

Cullman County Sheriff
√ Matt Gentry (R) (i)

Cullman County Coroner
√ JEREMY L. KILPATRICK (R) (i)

√ Gary Murphree (D)

32nd Circuit Judge
√ Gregory Nicholas (R) (i)

32nd Circuit Judge
√ MARTHA WILLIAMS (R) (i)
√ MELVIN HASTINGS (R)

32nd Circuit District Judge
√ Wells ‘Rusty’ Turner (R) (i)

32nd Circuit Clerk
√ Lisa McSwain (R) (i)

Cullman County Probate Judge
√ TAMMY BROWN (R) (i)
√ CAROL BERRY (R)

Cullman County Board of Education
Fairview – Open seat
√ – BILL BALLEW
√ – Shane Rusk
√ – Michael Knop

Good Hope
√ JASON SPEEGLE (R) (i)
√ Kerry Neighbors (R)

Hanceville
√ Kenny Brockman (R) (i)

Vinemont
√ Mike Graves (R) (i)

Independent candidates could still enter any of these races.

The Primary Elections will be June 5, 2018, with the General election scheduled for November 6, 2018.

After everyone left the venue, Cullman County GOP Chairman – Waid Harbison – sat still for an interview with Cullman Today.

The Chairman breaks all these races down into understandable format:

IMAGES from Cullman Kiwanis Club Pancake Day 2017

CLICK Any Image To Enlarge

Cullman County Republicans at Cullman Elks Lodge

Overflow Crowd Attends Cullman County Republican Breakfast

Timothy Collins

Timothy brings an insightful holistic perspective as well as a mountain man tenacity to his various roles at Cullman Today. You can reach him at cullmantoday@gmail.com.

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