It's official: Jefferson County Circuit Judge Robert Vance, Jr. will be the Alabama Democratic party nominee to run for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.
Vance was the only one to qualify by Wednesday's deadline at noon. Vance was appointed as circuit judge in 2002. He won the election for the judgeship in 2004. Vance says he entered the race because he was not happy with either the Democratic or Republican candidates.
"We weren't hearing about the real problems facing the court system. We were hearing about hot button wedge issues," Vance said.
Last Friday, the Alabama Democratic Party disqualified Pelham lawyer Harry Lyon for making comments considered unethical in the parties judicial races. Vance says he did not run earlier for chief justice because he respected incumbent Chief Justice Chuck Malone who was the Republican candidate but who lost to former Chief Justice Roy Moore.
Vance says he made the decision late last week after meeting with his family. The circuit judge says he is aware of the conspiracy theories that he was handpicked by the party for the job, a charge Vance denies.
"I'm not going to focus on my opponent that much. People have strong opinions on one side or another. People don't know about Bob Vance," Vance said.
Moore released this statement about Vance's campaign:
"I've always heard that it is wrong to change horses in the middle of a stream. It now appears that the Democratic Party is trying to change candidates at the end of this race for Chief Justice, and that too is simply wrong."
The chairman of the Alabama Republican Party Bill Armistead blasted Vance and the Democratic Party in a press release.
"If Alabama Democrats are known for anything, it's making desperate, backroom deals to get their candidate of choice on the ballot."
Moore and Armistead both pointed out Vance's wife, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District, was an appointee of President Obama. Vance brushed off the comments bringing his wife and mother of his four children into the campaign.
"The wife is tough enough to handle herself," Vance said.
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