LEE COUNTY, Ala.- On Tuesday at the Lee County Courthouse, Joe Lovvorn was officially sworn in as the House District 79 Representative.
After winning the Republican primary on Sept. 13, Lovvorn was to square off against Auburn student and Libertarian Party candidate, Gage Fenwick.
In order to run, Fenwick needed to gain ballot access. To do that, he needed to gain a certain amount of signatures, which was certain percentage of voters from the district in the previous gubernatorial election. The final number ended up being 276.
However, Fenwick ended up with 225 as more than 70 were not valid signatures.
Fenwick said not being able to face Lovvorn in a general election is a disservice to the voters of the district.
“6% of registered voters in this district voted for Joe Lovvorn to be their representative,” Fenwick said. “6% voted for another Republican. That means that 88% of registered voters in District 79 chose to not even vote for a Republican, and those voices are without representation now.”
Fenwick added that “we are moving more and more to a duopoly, tyrannical state where authoritarianism is going to take over. You’re going to have two parties with their different messages corralling voters into one of two sects. That’s not liberty. You’re going to have two varying choices on different stances, but it’s going to be the same result- government is going to grow, it’s going to get more involved in your life, you’re not going to have as much choice as you’d like to have, and that’s why the limit it to two options: Republican and Democrat. In this case with District 79, there’s only going to be one option.”
Fenwick said he plans to review the signature before going further, and he will continue to be a voice in politics in the Lee County area and continue trying to grow the Libertarian Party.
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said his office is more than happy to help folks with any ballot access questions. Secretary of State Merrill added that since 2000, there have been 35 special elections for legislative vacancies, and in 12 of them, a general election was not necessary.