By Barnett Wright
The Birmingham Times
Danny Carr, once interim Jefferson County district attorney (DA), on Tuesday took one step closer to getting the job permanently by overwhelmingly winning the Democratic primary against Birmingham lawyer Raymond Johnson Jr.
According to unofficial results from Tuesday’s election, Carr received 80 percent of the votes while Johnson received 20 percent.
“It’s been a humbling experience,” said Carr, from his campaign watch party at The Vault in downtown Birmingham. “It’s really been overwhelming. I’m appreciative but I’m still motivated. We still got a little work to do but I’m determined to serve the people of Jefferson County as D.A.”
Carr will face incumbent DA Mike Anderton in the November general election. Anderton, who received 60 percent of the vote in the Republican primary, according to unofficial results, defeated challenger former Bessemer Division DA Bill Veitch.
Voters in Jefferson County, as well as across the state, went to the polls Tuesday to select candidates on primary election day for U.S. Congress, governor, legislative seats, county offices and local judgeships.
Some candidates face a primary runoff, scheduled for July 17. The general election is set for Tuesday, Nov. 6.
Carr, 48, joined the DA’s office shortly after graduating from Miles Law School in 2000 and has risen through the ranks of the office to chief deputy DA. In January 2017, Presiding County Circuit Judge Joseph Boohaker appointed Carr interim DA after Charles Todd Henderson was found guilty of perjury and removed from office.
However, Republican Gov. Kay Ivey replaced Carr when she appointed Anderton to serve out the term.
“Its been a long road,” Carr said. “People know the story and know my time in the District Attorney’s office and know how I worked my way up the ranks.”
Carr has said he understands what it takes to be a good DA, having learned from former long-standing DA David Barber. He said he has roots in the community and understands Birmingham, having grown up in Ensley.
Anderton, who was appointed district attorney in 2017, served as Jefferson County deputy assistant district attorney from 1984-87 and Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office’s division chief from 1987-2017.
On Tuesday, the key to his victory was experienced planners “that helped organize the campaign and especially the last month or so of the campaign,” Anderton said.
However, he will need a strong Republican showing in November to have a chance against Carr in Jefferson County, which is heavily Democrat.
‘I think it’s going to take for the Republicans to come out and in a show of strength,” said Anderton, at his campaign watch party at Saw’s Juke Joint in the Crestwood area. “I think we’ve got to unify some of the Republican base to get them out to vote and let them understand this is an important race, It’s one of the most important for Jefferson County and the Republican base needs to be energized about that.”
In other local races of note:
Jefferson County Commission District 1
Incumbent George Bowman who is seeking his third consecutive term will face Birmingham City Councilor Lashunda Scales, who in October was elected to her third consecutive council term, in a July 17 runoff election.
According to unofficial results from Tuesday’s election, Scales received 40 percent of the vote and Bowman 26 percent.
Other candidates in the field, Gary Richardson, who is serving his fourth consecutive term as Midfield mayor, received 19 percent; while Eric Major, a former state lawmaker, received 14 percent.
Jefferson County Commission District 2
Incumbent Sandra Little Brown will face Birmingham City Councilor Sheila Tyson in the runoff election.
Brown is seeking her third consecutive term on the commission. Tyson was re-elected to the city council for a second consecutive term in 2017.
According to unofficial results, Brown and Tyson both received 46 percent of the vote while Birmingham consultant Richard Dickerson received 7 percent.
Times staff writer Erica Wright and freelancer William C. Singleton III contributed to this post.