- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 4, 2014

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - After millions of dollars were spent and mud-slinging ads dominated the airwaves for weeks, what changed in the Alabama Legislature after Tuesday’s primary?

Hardly anything in the Alabama Senate. GOP incumbents repelled a slate of challengers funded by the state teachers’ lobby and an anti-Common Core group.

In the House, Alabama Education Association-backed candidates knocked off several Republican incumbents in the hopes of slowing down a legislative train that has often been at odds with the teachers’ lobby. Reviews are mixed whether knocking off those incumbents would be enough to change dynamics in the House.

“It was just a great night,” Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, said of the Senate races. “We defeated the union. They spent 5 to 7 million dollars with vicious attacks on incumbents and they failed in every case in the Senate.”


A spokeswoman for the Alabama Education Association said the group also had a great night, but it was in the House of Representatives

Rep. Bill Roberts of Jasper and Rep. Wayne Johnson of Ryland lost, according to unofficial results. Three other incumbents - Rep. Kurt Wallace of Maplesville, Rep. Richard Baughn of Lynn and Rep. Charles Newton of Greenville - also seemed to be losing, according to unofficial returns. The heads of the Republican and Democratic parties must certify primary results by noon on June 13.

“We had a great night. We defeated five anti-public education incumbents,” said education association spokeswoman Amy Marlowe. “From the very beginning we’ve had one litmus test on any candidate and that is if they are going to support the public schools in Alabama and the employees that work in those schools.”

Primary candidates can foot the bill and request a recount if they lose by a margin of one-half of 1 percent. There are no automatic recounts in primary races.

It takes 63 votes to end a filibuster in the Alabama House of Representatives, a number the current Republican supermajority often reached.

The toppling of incumbents could make reaching that threshold harder to achieve on education bills if the new members align with the teacher association.

Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, said he didn’t think the upsets would change much. He said his candidates performed well in open seats and he expects Republicans to pick up another in the November general election.

“Really, it’s not enough to change the leadership vote and it’s really not enough to change anything,” Hubbard said.

Hubbard contended the education association had no reason to celebrate.

“They said they’re pleased? They spent $7 million and that’s what they got. They spent a million dollars against me,” Hubbard said.

Marsh and Hubbard both defeated challengers by double-digit margins.

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