RUNOFF’S LAST HURRAH

Endorsements, spending, last questions for District 34 campaign

The election for District 34 State Representative, covering roughly two-thirds of Blount County, is set for Dec. 11. It pits runoff winners David Standridge, retired probate judge, and Chris Latta, market executive for People’s Bank, against each other in the finale of a campaign that got off to a frenetic start in early September with six candidates and almost that many public forums.

This article addresses three subjects: an update and final report on campaign spending by the runoff candidates, a rundown on their endorsements, and a final question on a significant topic in their campaign. Campaign finances

David Standridge led the monetary sweepstakes with a total of $48,500 in reported contributions, $1,051 in in-kind contributions (amount paid directly for campaign expenses, such as advertising for the candidate, but not paid directly to the candidate), and $3,000 from other sources. Total expenditures, including in-kind contributions, were $38,011, with an ending balance of $14,539. All figures are as of the reporting period ending Nov. 23.

For the same period, Chris Latta reported $3,850 in contributions, $12,907 in in-kind contributions, and $4,150 from other sources. Total expenditures, including in-kind contributions, were $18,257 with an ending balance of $3,384. Endorsements identified by Chris Latta

Blount County Farmers Federation

Alabama Forestry Association

Alabama Bankers Association

Conservative Action Group

Community Bankers Association

Statement of the Blount County Farmers Association regarding the organization’s endorsement of Latta: “As a board of 12 to 15 members, we discuss those candidates running and the issues as they apply to us. Then we vote on which one to endorse and the majority rules. In this case we voted for the candidate we thought would support us best on agricultural and property rights issues. The majority felt Chris Latta will serve us best as state representative.” ( The Blount County Farmers Federation is a statewide organization with between 5500 and 6000 members in the county.)

Endorsements identified by
David Standridge:
Alabama Cattlemen’s Association
Alabama Retail Association
Alabama Trucking Association
Medical Association of the State of
Alabama State Trooper Association
Alabama Dental Association
Alabama Retired State Employees’
Association
Automobile Dealers Association of
Alabama Nursing Home Association
Alabama Veterinary Medical Association
Alabama Grocers Association

Statement of Rick Brown, president of the Alabama Retail Association, regarding the organization’s endorsement of Standridge: “We looked at his record and he has a conservative record supporting small business, which is one of our main interests. We think he understands the economy, makes sound economic decisions, and we think he’ll be able to get along well with other members of the Legislature.” ( The Alabama Retail Association is a statewide organization of about 4000 members, both small and large businesses, representing all categories of retail sales.) Question for Latta: Would you elaborate on what you refer to as your proven record as a job creator?

My record as a job creator comes from my 20 plus years in banking. I’ve worked with multiple businesses, both small and large, to help start up new businesses and to help existing businesses expand, creating new jobs as a result. I have the solid skills and experience needed to attract jobs to Blount County. I believe I am the most qualified candidate running, with the needed skills to bring jobs and new business to the county. Besides my banking experience, my businessrelated community experience includes the Oneonta Jaycees, the Blount County- Oneonta Agribusiness Center, the Blount County-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce, and the Blount County Board of Education. I completed the Alabama Banking School program, I thoroughly understand the economics of job creation, and I’ve practiced it professionally for many years. Question for Standridge: You have previously said you are interested in bringing higher education to the county. How would you do that as a state representative?

The state representative is key to making that happen because he provides the contacts with people at the state level who control possible funding. The way I’d approach it would be to bring the Blount County delegation into the process, including members that will be part of the delegation two years from now, and bring them all on board to help. Besides building consensus about the need for better access to higher education here, that would also show Jacksonville State University – who has already shown an interest in locating a site here – the strength of our commitment, thereby increasing theirs. I worked on this with Jacksonville State on two occasions as Blount County Commission Chairman, and I’d like to continue to work on it as State Representative.