It turns out Gov. Robert Bentley, or at least his lawyers, will not have to appear in Montgomery Circuit Court Tuesday in connection with a lawsuit filed by Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler. Zeigler filed a lawsuit against the governor, arguing Bentley is violating state law by waiting until next year’s election cycle to hold a special election for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by now-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. After Sessions was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in February, Bentley appointed Luther Strange to the vacant seat. Under the current schedule, the seat will be up for a special election in 2018, and then it will be up again in 2020 for a full six-year term. A hearing was set on the lawsuit for Tuesday, but it was continued until April 12.
Alabama’s election law addresses special elections for filling office vacancies. If the next general election is more than four months away, the governor is directed to call for a special election “forthwith.”
It turns out that term is not defined under Alabama law, but that’s the sticking point for Zeigler. The lawsuit argues that state law is clear. Zeigler is asking the court to make Bentley call a special election.
To bolster his argument, Zeigler got an opinion from the Alabama Legislative Reference Service. That agency said, “It appears that Section 36-9-8, Code of Alabama 1975, requires Governor Bentley to hold a special election to fill the vacancy of Senator Jeff Sessions without delay at some time prior to the 2018 General Election.”
Full Article: Gov. Bentley wants to toss lawsuit on delayed Senate election | WHNT.com.