Turnout shows GOP enthusiasm, party says

Published 5:18 pm Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Turnout in the Alabama primary Tuesday was about 30 percent statewide and 20 percent in Escambia County — proof for local Republicans that enthusiasm in this election year is high.

“I think this is the level of energy we will see in the general election on the Republican side,” said Jeff Peacock, chairman of the Escambia County Republican Party.

Tuesday’s primary saw a few surprises — including former Chief Justice Roy Moore winning the Republican nomination for the seat from which he was ousted in 2003.

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Despite campaigning with fewer funds than incumbent Chuck Malone or challenger Charles Graddick, Moore won the nomination outright with slightly more than 50 percent of the vote. He will face Democratic challenger Harry Lyon in the general election, but Moore is likely to be the favorite in that race.

Analysts said Moore’s win, along with that of presidential candidate Rick Santorum, signaled that voters were looking for candidates who shared their values. Moore and Santorum also won the most votes in Escambia County.

“Republican voters in Alabama turned out Tuesday because they know that Obama’s policies have taken our country in the wrong direction and they are anxious to help choose the person who will make him a one-term president,” state Republican party chairman Bill Armistead said. “Though it will still be several weeks before we have a final answer as to who our nominee will be, the ‘Deep South’ Super Tuesday Primary helped add a new and dynamic element to the race, and we’re proud to have been party of history.”

In other races, Tracy Roberts won the nomination for state school board in District 1, which represents Escambia County.