Leeds businessman Dickie Drake narrowly defeated Irondale mayor Tommy Joe Alexander Tuesday in a runoff for the Republican nomination in the race, tallying 1,110 votes (53 percent) to Alexander’s 965 (46 percent) with 21 of 22 ballot boxes reporting.
The win means Drake — whose brother, Owen, was elected to the seat for two terms before passing away after a battle with cancer in June — will face Democrat Paige Parnell, also a Leeds resident, in a Nov. 29 special election.
Drake had only one word to say after the election. “Whew.”
“I’m just so pleased and honored that the people had the confidence in me to place me in this position,” Drake said. “I am overwhelmed.”
The final total represented a reversal from the primary in August, when Alexander received the most votes, just ahead of Drake and third-place finisher Michael Sumners, of Irondale.
“It was a close race,” Alexander said. “It was pretty close. I can’t say that it was a good race or a clean race.
“My only comment is, we just didn’t get enough people out to vote. (Drake) beat us, and that’s all we can say.”
The 2,075 ballots cast represented only a small percentage of the registered voters living in the district, which covers a small portion of Moody, all of Leeds and other portions of eastern Jefferson County. 209 votes were cast at Cedar Grove Baptist Church in Leeds — the same as in the primary six weeks ago.
Drake received 131 votes while Alexander tallied 78. In Moody, 15 voters cast votes, one more than in the August primary.
Drake ran away with the Moody count as he received 14 votes while Alexander had 1 vote. According to results posted by the Leeds Herald, Drake dominated in Leeds, with 817 votes to Alexander’s 399.
St. Clair County Probate Judge Mike Bowling was surprised with the turnout, and thought there would be a lot less voters today.
“It is still not a good turnout, but more than I expected,” Bowling said.
“We had one more voter today than we did in the primary. Usually you do not have more people to vote in the runoff than you do in the primary, but we did today.”
Drake still has a big hurdle facing him in November, as he faces his Democratic opponent Paige Parnell.
“I’ve known Paige all her life,” Drake said. “She is a great person and I have nothing against her except she is a Democrat. I want to be the Republican representative in Montgomery.
“I wish her the best and I will run a clean race, just like I did against Tommy Joe Alexander.”
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