Local state auditor candidate faces challenge from own party
by Tim Lockette
tlockette@annistonstar.com
Feb 18, 2014 | 4443 views |  0 comments | 56 56 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ray Bryan in his Anniston office in 2008. (File photo: Kevin Qualls/The Anniston Star)
Ray Bryan in his Anniston office in 2008. (File photo: Kevin Qualls/The Anniston Star)
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MONTGOMERY -- Anniston lawyer Ray Bryan, who is running as a Republican for state auditor, is one of 18 GOP candidates whose qualifications to run have been challenged by fellow party members, Republican leaders say.

Bryan and 17 other candidates "have been invited to appear before the Alabama Republican Party this weekend to respond to challenges" against their candidacy, state Republican Party chairman Bill Armistead said in an emailed announcement.

Bryan, who announced his run last summer, was one of five Republicans who qualified to run for state auditor when qualifying ended Feb. 7. One Democrat, Birmingham resident Miranda Joseph, is also in the race.

In announcing his run, Bryan said his goal was to abolish the state auditor's office, which keeps an inventory of all personal property owned by the state with a value of more than $500. Bryan said he hoped to fold the organization into the Examiners of Public Accounts, the audit agency within the legislative branch.

Attempts to reach Bryan for comment Tuesday were unsuccessful.

Armistead declined to discuss the reason for the challenge to Bryan's candidacy. He said several candidates were challenged on a variety of grounds.

"It's anything from saying they're not really a Republican to questioning their residency to technical issues to fill-in-the-blank," he said.

Technical issues have cost Bryan a public position in the past. In 2008, Bryan won the Republican nomination in the race for a Circuit Court judgeship, with no Democratic opponent -- but his election was later decertified because he was late filing a campaign finance report. Bryan said unclear instructions and the closure of the Secretary of State's office for Jefferson Davis's birthday, a state holiday, led to the late filing.

State records show that Bryan has been filing campaign finance reports for the state auditor's race, and filing them on deadline. State law requires candidates to file finance reports, and financial disclosures with the ethics commission, when a candidate raises $1,000 toward election.

Bryan had around $2,100 in campaign funds when he filed his latest report on Feb. 4 -- his first report to show more than $1,000 in funds. He filed a financial disclosure the same day, according to the Alabama Ethics Commission website.

Bryan is the only Anniston-area politician on Armistead's list of 18 challenged candidacies. The list includes seven candidates for the Legislature, Fourth District congressional candidate Thomas Drake, a handful of judgeship and county commission candidates and a few people running for positions within the party.

Capitol & statewide correspondent Tim Lockette: 256-294-4193. On Twitter @TLockette_Star.

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