Fundraising battle heats up in Chief Justice race

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The hottest race on the March primary ballot in Alabama may not be the Presidential race, but the race for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.  Three Republicans are running: current Chief Justice Chuck Malone, former Chief Justice Roy Moore and former Attorney General and current Mobile District Court Judge Charlie Graddick.

Charlie Graddick had been leading in the fundraising race, but Chief Justice Malone is catching up.   He pulled in more than $101,000 dollars in January.  Most of his contributors are from Alabama.  He pulled in big contributions from the Automobile Dealers PAC, the COMPAC, and the Civil Justice Reform PAC.

"Chief Justice Malone is excited and humbled by the broad base of support that the latest financial disclosures exhibit," said Angi Smith, campaign manager for Malone.  "He has the largest number of individuals from the largest number of counties in Alabama supporting this campaign."

Roy Moore raised $23,880 in January.  The former Chief Justice receives a lot more support from out of state.   His January filing is littered with small contributions from places as diverse as New York City and Fresno, CA.  No political action committees are listed on his filing.

Charlie Graddick's January contributor list is also mostly made up of addresses in Alabama.  He raised $24,925 in January according to campaign records.   But it also includes two major contributions from political action committees based in Mobile, $5,000 from the ACE PAC and $10,000 from the Jackson PAC.

Graddick's press secretary said political action committees are part of our state's political system - even in judicial races.

"That's what you have when you have to get your word out, to get elected," said Skip Tucker, Press Secretary for the Graddick Campaign.  "It's the coin of the realm, as we say."

There is a democrat running for the Chief Justice seat, Pelham attorney Harry Lyon.  He has no reports filed on the Secretary of State's website.

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