WAAY I-TEAM: Limestone County, Alabama Republican parties dump candidate

The Limestone County and Alabama Republican Party approved a challenge against LaDon Townsend for his friendships, Facebook posts, and opinions.

Posted: Feb 12, 2020 8:07 AM

The WAAY 31 I-TEAM is asking why Alabama’s Republican Party kicked a candidate off the ballot.

LaDon Townsend is asking the same questions, because he told us the answer he got doesn’t make sense.

Townsend's candidacy for the District 4 seat on the Limestone County Commission was challenged based on friendships, Facebook posts, and opinions. And both the Limestone County and Alabama Republican parties agreed with it.

Townsend believes the Republican Party is oppressing him, Limestone County voters, and has an agenda to help the incumbent.

"What the Republican Party done to me was in my eyes one of the worst thing they could have done to challenge a man's integrity," said Townsend.

He described his emotions when Limestone County and Alabama Republican Party booted him from March's primary.

"I was shocked when he said you've been challenged. I said I've been challenged? And he said you've been challenged... that you're not Republican," adds Townsend.

The Alabama Republican Party received this challenge from a man named Eric Redd. The challenge states because Townsend has Democratic supporters and pictures of him with Democrats are posted on Facebook

"He is not a loyal Republican", according to Redd.

The challenge also states there are Townsend signs outside the home of Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely. The Democrat is in his 10th term as sheriff. It's the longest in Alabama history.

"It's unfair. For me, them challenging my integrity of me being a Republican that's people that don't really know me," says Townsend.

Nobody with the the Alabama Republican or Limestone County Republican committees would do an on-camera interview.

We asked the Chief of Staff for the Alabama Republican Party as to who voted on the matter, what the final vote count was, and why the Republican Party did boot Townsend from the ballot. He told us he couldn't answer those questions because it's a private matter.

We called the Secretary of State's Office and learned there are no specific requirements to qualify as a candidate for the Republican or Democratic parties.

To run for county commission: you must be at least 18 years of age and live in the county for at least a year prior to the date of taking office. And that if you are representing a specific district, you must be a resident for at least a year.

"People should want to run for public office. People should want to help the people. That's what I want to do. These people supported me and then they took it away from the people and their opportunity to vote any way they wanted to vote," says Townsend.

The incumbent, Ben Harrison, is now running unopposed in the Republican primary. Several of Harrison's long-time friends are executives on the state’s Republican party

We asked the Alabama Republican Party which members on the Steering Committee recused themselves from the vote. They confirmed the senior vice chairman did in fact recuse himself from the vote.

Townsend is also not the first person to get kicked off the Republican ballot in Limestone County. In 2015 and 2018, candidates said they were barred from the ballot without reason.

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