Sparks defeats Davis, GOP too close to call

By Dennis Washington

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Ron Sparks defeated congressman Artur Davis in the bid to become the Democrat candidate for governor of Alabama, while several Republican candidates were in a tight race for the GOP nomination.

With 99 percent of the precincts reporting, Ron Sparks had 62 percent of the votes to 38 percent for Artur Davis in the Democrat primary for governor.

Davis conceeded defeat in a speech shortly before 10 p.m. Tuesday at his campaign headquarters in Birmingham, offering his congratulations to Sparks.

"We need to fix things in Alabama and we need to go forward, and I urge you to get behind Sparks to make that happen," Davis said.

Minutes later, Sparks greeted his supporters from his campaign headquarters in Montgomery, thanking them for their hard work.

"We worked hard, we fussed hard, we cried hard," Sparks said. "Thank you for allowing me to be in the position I'm in."

The person who will face Sparks in the November general election was not yet decided.  On the Republican side, with 99 percent of the precincts reporting, Bradley Byrne had 28 percent of the vote, followed by Robert Bentley at 25 percent and Tim James at 25 percent. Roy Moore was in fourth with 19 percent.

Only 140 votes seperated Bentley and James.

The top two candidates will face each other in a runoff on Tuesday, July 13.

James spoke to supporters shortly before 11 p.m. Tuesday, telling them the race was not over.

"We're gonna have to ride the storm," James said.

Byrne addressed supporters around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, planning for the July runoff.

"We knew from the beginning after the early returns came in, we would be fine," Byrne told FOX6 News.  "We are used to being in a fight. Sometimes you have to be in a fight to get things done."

Bentley spoke to FOX6 News before midnight, saying he was watching the numbers and cautiously optimistic he would be in a runoff with Byrne.

In the Republican race for Lt. Governor, Kay Ivey won the nomination over Hank Erwin and Gene Ponder. She will face the incumbent, Jim Folsom, Jr., in the general election in November.

For Attorney General, Luther Strange easily defeated the incumbent Troy King to earn the Republican nomination.  Strange may face either James Anderson or Giles Perkins in the November election.  Anderson had just under 50 percent of the votes counted. Giles Perkins had 31 percent.

For State Treasurer, Charles Grimsley defeated Jeremy Sherer on the Democrat ballot and Young Boozer defeated George Wallace, Jr., on the Republican ballot.

For Agriculture Commissioner, John McMillan and Dorman Grace will be in a runoff for the Republican nomination.

Hundreds of thousands of people voted Tuesday in Alabama's primary elections, a number which surprised some election analysts. Election analysts had predicted a third of Alabama's registered voters would turnout for Tuesday's primaries but, by early afternoon, some analysts suggested the number would be as high as 38 percent.

The turnout was far less than the presidential general election two years ago when more than 73 percent of Alabama's registered voters turned out to vote.

For statewide election results, please visit

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