Gov. Robert Bentley has set a special election schedule to fill the seat of Republican Rep. Elwyn Thomas of Oneonta before the Legislature's next regular session. Bentley selected Thomas last week to become executive director of the Alabama Manufactured Housing Commission effective Sept. 1. Thomas is resigning from the Alabama House on Aug. 31. Bentley announced Tuesday that major party candidates for the District 34 seat have until Sept. 7 to qualify with their parties. Primary elections will be Oct. 23 and a runoff, if necessary, on Dec. 11. Then the general election will be Jan. 29.
Democrats in the Alabama House have decided to fight new legislative districts in Washington rather than in the state.
House Minority Leader Craig Ford of Gadsden said House Democrats have consulted with their attorneys and decided not to challenge the districts in state court. Instead, they will take their battle to the U.S. Justice Department. The Voting Rights Act requires the Justice Department to approve the new districts before they can be used in the legislative elections in 2014.