Cole turns in signatures; Guin mounts petition effort

By ED HOWELL
Posted 3/14/18

Walker County sheriff's candidate Mike Cole has turned in signatures to mount an independent run on the November ballot, while Tanya Guin announced Sunday she was attempting to get enough signatures …

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Cole turns in signatures; Guin mounts petition effort

Posted

Walker County sheriff's candidate Mike Cole has turned in signatures to mount an independent run on the November ballot, while Tanya Guin announced Sunday she was attempting to get enough signatures for an independent run at superintendent of education. 

Both had been rejected as Republican candidates by the Walker County Republican Party. 

Any independent candidate would not be on any primary ballot, but would instead run against the Republican nominee in either race. No Democrats qualified this year for the offices.

Write-in votes would also be allowed on the Nov. 6 General Election ballot.  

Cole said on his Facebook campaign site Sunday, "WE came together and got the signatures needed to get me on the ballot for YOUR Independent Candidate for Sheriff." He urged supporters to get the word out that his name would not be on the June 5 primary ballot but will be on the Nov. 6 ballot. 

On Tuesday, Cole said he met with Walker County Probate Judge Rick Allison on Monday. 

"I turned in 720 signatures," he said. "I think the required amount is 513." 

Allison confirmed Tuesday the signatures were turned in and that he had a staff person actively working to verify  the signatures are from actual registered county voters. He said it may take about a week or two to certify the signatures. 

Cole said Allison was helpful. 

"Everything looked fine. Everything on the sheets are completed," Cole said. "I feel pretty good." 

Efforts were made to try to do the forms correctly and to get them in sooner rather than later, ahead of the June 5 deadline to turn in petitions for an independent candidacy, he said. 

"We don't want to make any more difficult on the probate office than what it already is. They have a lot of work to do certifying this. There may be others running, and they are going to have to do it for every candidate who wants to run as an independent," he said. 

He said he was thankful to many people who helped him, as he noted the large number of signatures that were submitted. 

Cole, a former Democrat who unsuccessfully ran for sheriff as a Democrat in 2014, has criticized the Walker County Republican Party for "selective enforcement" of its rules, saying they favor incumbents who switch parties. He received a letter from the party on Jan. 4 saying he would not be allowed to run as a Republican. 

Guin took out an advertisement in the Sunday edition of the Daily Mountain Eagle, urging people to "sign a petition to place Tanya Guin on the ballot." A link, www.electtanya.com/petition, led to a web page pushing the petition campaign, called "Take Back Our Vote Walker County"

"A small group of individuals should not be able to keep an individual off of the election ballot," the website said. "That's what has happened to Dr. Tanya McGough Guin. Join our cause to petition for Tanya McGough Guin to be placed on the general election ballot .... We, the citizens of Walker County, should have the right to chose our next Superintendent of Education." 

The website and a Facebook page called Take Back Our Vote Walker County provided a downloadable petition and said petitions were being accepted at Kenneth Guin Drugs and Elaine's Beauty Shop in Carbon Hill, at the Jasper law office of Mrs. Guin's husband, Ken Guin, and through a mailing address listed in the newspaper advertisement. 

When Mrs. Guin was turned down by the local party, who filed an appeal process that eventually led to the Alabama Republican Party's candidate steering committee rejecting the appeal on Feb. 24. She had said in public comments that people had been urging her to run for as an independent after the appeal was turned down, but indicated she would decide later after prayer and consultations. 

She said recently she felt state party officials had already made their mind up when they met to decide the appeal and that she had been denied on the GOP ballot for not participating more in the party up to that point. She said other Republican candidates had not attended meetings or joined party organizations. 

Mrs. Guin said Tuesday after the state party decision, "I wasn't certain about what I was going to do at that point and I needed some time to go home and think about and discuss it with my family and to be in prayer for it. 

"I had so many people who reached out to me and said, 'Please don't stop here. We want you on the ballot. What do we need to do to help?'" 

As a result, she said she announced the decision to make an independent candidacy on Friday at a political rally in Parrish. 

She said she would work hard to get the signatures, noting she hopes to expand the sites accepting petitions. A number of people have reached out to her since the weekend. 

"If the people of Walker County want me to be on the ballot, I'll be on the ballot," she said. 

She said she had not been in touch yet with Allison, although she downloaded the same form she said everyone has to use. "I don't foresee any problems," she said. 

Allison said he wants to certify the names on the Cole petition as soon as possible, as he hears rumors of others who want to file as independent candidates, which will also require time to verify.

"I don't want to get behind," he said, urging others to turn in petitions as soon as possible before the June 5 deadline. That way, if they were found to be short of the needed number, those candidates might have some more time to make up the difference.