Voting 8-15-17

A slow stream of voters come and go out of the Saks High School gym during the special election for the US Senate seat in Alabama. (Stephen Gross / The Anniston Star)

Calhoun County’s Democrats will have a rare choice of two candidates in this year’s primary for Alabama’s 3rd District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Talladega resident Adia McClellan Winfrey filed paperwork to run for Congress this week, pitting her against Opelika resident and former TV news anchor Mallory Hagan in a bid for the Democratic nomination for the House seat now held by Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Saks.

Winfrey was among a handful of candidates who emerged Friday, the final day of qualifying for the 2018 midterm elections.

“I feel in general like the district is falling behind,” said Winfrey, a psychologist who has lived in Talladega since 2014.

Rogers has held the 3rd District seat since 2003 and in recent years has won re-election handily, defeating both primary opponents and Democrats by double-digit margins. Rogers has faced occasional challengers within his party, but the Democratic nomination typically hasn’t found many takers.

If 2018 is different, it might be because Democrats feel energized by the December special election that put one of their own, Doug Jones, into a U.S. Senate seat representing Alabama for the first time in a quarter-century.

Hagan, a former Miss America and more recently a news anchor for a Columbus, Ga., TV station, announced her run earlier this month.

Attempts to reach Rogers and Hagan weren’t immediately successful  Friday afternoon.

It was clear at close of business Friday that most of Calhoun County’s local offices would remain Republican. Only GOP candidates emerged in races for sheriff, circuit clerk and the county’s judgeships. Three Democrats are in the running for the District 1 County Commission seat. The other four commission seats have only Republican candidates.

Local party leaders said that’s no surprise, given the makeup of the districts. Local GOP chairman James Bennett said one Republican inquired about running for the District 1 seat — which covers much of the city of Anniston — but didn’t sign up.

“I told him to look at the demographics and get back to me,” he said.

State Rep. Steve Hurst, R-Munford, appeared to be headed to re-election without opposition as qualifying closed at 5 p.m., as did Calhoun County Sheriff Matthew Wade and Alabama Board of Education member Cynthia McCarty. Still, party leaders noted that the candidate lists could grow overnight as party officials process paperwork filed at the last minute.

“They can’t possibly get all those envelopes open and post the results that quickly,” Calhoun County Democratic Party chairwoman Sheila Gilbert said at 5.p.m.

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

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