- Madison County Republicans have nominated a Huntsville man to replace Elbert Peters on the ballot for the House District 53 race.
And Madison County Democrats aren't happy about it.
According to the Alabama Secretary of State's office, however, the GOP is following state law.
Peters, former state Republican Party chairman, in the race for the new House district in Huntsville. Peters said he did realize his home off Oakwood Road in north Huntsville was a few blocks outside the District 53 lines.
To replace Peters on the ballot, Madison County Republicans have nominated Chris Horn for consideration by the state GOP. John Como, chair of the Madison County Republicans, said today that a decision on Horn by the state party is expected this week.
The switching of candidates led Clete Wetli, chair of the Madison County Democrats, to accuse Republicans of "fraud" since the qualifying deadline for the 2014 primaries passed two months ago. is the Democrats' candidate.
"The good people of Madison County deserve better than deception from the Madison County and Alabama GOP," Wetli said in a statement today. "Are we to believe that they did not vet their candidate for HD53, to find out he doesn't even live in the district?Anthony Daniels, Democratic candidate for House District 53. (AL.com file photo)
"Now they expect you to accept a candidate who doesn't care enough about the job to qualify in the first place. Just as bad, they expect the masses to be fooled by their fraud."
Como responded by saying, "We believe we're following the rules. It is a party's right to replace a candidate."
Madison County Republicans met last week and identified Horn as a candidate to replace Peters. Horn graduated from Johnson High School, earned a football letter at the University of Michigan in 1988 and most recently has served as a senior executive with the J.O. Johnson Alumni Association.
Horn also ran for Huntsville city council in 2008 in a campaign eventually won by Councilman Will Culver.
Horn's candidacy is possible because Peters was running unopposed for the GOP nomination in the District 53 House race, according to Ed Packard, director of the Elections Division of the Alabama Secretary of State's office.
Parties have a deadline of 82 days before a contested primary or election, Packard said. Since Peters was unopposed, that deadline is 82 days before the Nov. 4 general election.
In his press release, Wetli ridiculed Republicans for using Peters as a "place-holder" to provide more time to find a candidate. The House districts were approved by the U.S. Department of Justice last year after having been redrawn during the 2012 legislative session.
Wetli also described Peters as a "frequent" place-holder candidate. According to campaign finance records, Peters paid the qualifying fee of ,162.52 to the state Republican Party on Feb. 7 - the final day of qualifying.
Prior to that, Peters' most recent campaign finance records regarded his campaigns for the state Senate District 7 seat in 2002 and 1998. In 1998, he lost to Jeff Enfinger in the Republican primary. And in 2002, he lost to Enfinger in the general election after Enfinger changed parties.
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