Competitive race for GOP Secretary of State nomination - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Competitive race for GOP Secretary of State nomination

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Jim Perdue Jim Perdue
Rep. John Merrill Rep. John Merrill
Reese McKinney Reese McKinney
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

The race to become the GOP Secretary of State nominee in Alabama is by far the most competitive of all of the constitutional primary races.

Three candidates highlight a crowded field. Two of them are former county probate judges. Jim Perdue and Reese McKinney ran the probate offices for Crenshaw and Montgomery counties respectively.

Current Rep. John Merrill decided to give up his seat in the Alabama Legislature to instead run for Secretary of State. Merrill is serving his first term in the State House.

Merrill's priorities, in addition to making sure the state's elections are run properly, has focused part of his campaign on reducing the amount of red tape for small businesses to establish in Alabama.

"There's no reason why in North Carolina they can get a new business started in seven to 10 days, three days in Delaware and in Florida and Colorado can do it the same day and it takes us four months," Merrill said.

He says he would work with his former colleagues in the Alabama House and Senate to improve the efficiency of business filings.

The probate judges argue that their experiences in smaller settings make them the most qualified to run the entire state's elections.

"In small counties you have to do everything," said Jim Perdue of his experience working in Crenshaw County. "You do all of the nuts and bolts and get your fingernails dirty and you run the elections. In large counties there's staff but I bring that experience."

Reese McKinney insists the fact that he ran elections for one of the state's most populous counties that voters should turn to him as the GOP nominee. McKinney says he can help the state improve its economic development profile by making life easier for businesses.

"We need someone who understands business filings. We did that here in Montgomery. We can transfer that technology and that set up to the state level too," McKinney said.

The current Secretary of State, Jim Bennett, was appointed by Gov. Robert Bentley following the resignation of Beth Chapman. Chapman quit her elected position to take a job with ALFA.

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