County goes for Wallace, change

Published 9:39 pm Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Kurt Wallace speaks to supporters at his campaign headquarters on Tuesday after it became apparent he would be the new state representative for District 42.

Kurt Wallace unseated three-term representative Jimmy Martin in Tuesday’s election to become the first Republican to ever claim the state House District 42 seat.

“We’re going to go to Montgomery and do some good things,” a teary eyed Wallace told a crowd of about 50 supporters at his campaign headquarters, in a strip mall off Highway 31 near Walmart, after his victory became apparent.

Wallace, current mayor of Maplesville, received 8,776 votes in Chilton County to Martin’s 4,913, or 64.1 percent to 35.9 percent.

The Shelby County voters included in state House of Representatives District 42 also went for Republican challenger Kurt Wallace on Tuesday, though by a smaller margin than their Chilton County counterparts.

Wallace earned 593 votes in Shelby County to Democrat incumbent Jimmy Martin’s 535, bringing the total number of votes cast in the General Election to 9,369 for Wallace and 5,448 for Martin.

Even a narrow win over one of Chilton County’s most recognized names would’ve surprised Wallace when he began his campaign “just me and no one else,” he said.

But many volunteers jumped on board, and Wallace ended up raising twice as much money as he thought possible, he said.

“I never could have envisioned it,” Wallace said.

Wallace also benefited from negativity surrounding established politicians, especially from conservatives around the country toward incumbent Democrats.

Martin said he told his wife, Norma, during campaigning, “I think we’ve got another Goldwater sweep coming through,” referring to the 1964 election in which Alabamians voted a record number of Republicans into office as part of their support for the conservative presidential candidate from Arizona.

Wallace embraced the push for a change, vowing to bring a “new face, new ideas, a new direction,” according to campaign advertisements.

Martin, meanwhile, was unapologetic about his party affiliation, saying local politicians had been lumped together with those in Washington, D.C.

“I’m an Alabama Democrat, and I love what I am,” Martin said. “I appreciate the people of Chilton County letting me serve them, as a legislator and as coroner, and I’ll still be available to serve them—we’re going to stay in Chilton County—just not as a legislator.”

Wallace guaranteed voters he would work hard in his new position.

“I don’t know what I can’t do, never having been down there before, but I’m going down there with the attitude that, my motives are right and so I’ll be successful,” Wallace said.