— MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama AFL-CIO rescinded its endorsement of Republican Roy Moore for chief justice on Friday in anticipation of the Democratic Party changing its nominee.
The union's president, Al Henley, said Friday the union's only endorsement of a Republican candidate in this election was based on Moore running against Democrat Harry Lyon, a perennial candidate who has never won an election. He said the executive board voted Friday to rescind the endorsement because it appears the Democratic Party may disqualify Lyon and pick another candidate to replace him on the ballot.
"Because the candidates in the race have changed, it is in the best interest of our members to rescind the earlier endorsement," he said.
The statewide union usually endorses Democrats. Henley said the union would re-evaluate the race for chief justice based on what happens with the Democratic Party.
State Democratic Party Chairman Mark Kennedy is considering a voter's petition to disqualify Lyon for not reporting his campaign contributions on time. Lyon maintained he hadn't raised enough money to file. But at Kennedy's direction, Lyon filed campaign finance reports Friday showing he had pumped $3,470 of his own money into the campaign and had only one contribution of $250 from Mary Stewart of Birmingham.
Kennedy said Thursday he would review Lyon's status after the reports were filed. A party spokeswoman said Friday that Kennedy was studying the reports and would likely make a statement Monday.
If the party disqualifies Lyon, state law allows the party to name a replacement to take on Moore on Nov. 6 or have no candidate.
Lyon said some Democrats have been pressuring Kennedy to drop him, and the union's announcement made him suspicious of what awaits him. "If the candidates have changed, who's the new Democratic candidate?" he said.
Moore's campaign manager, Rich Hobson, said special interests have been pushing the Democratic Party to drop Lyon. "Now it appears the Democratic Party is sinking to a new low in an attempt to buy this election," he said.
The Alabama AFL-CIO usually endorses Democrats, but it backed Moore a week ago, saying he had been fair to working people as a circuit judge in Gadsden and as chief justice form 2001-2003. The voter's complaint to the Democratic Party chairman arrived soon after the endorsement.
Lyon practices law in Pelham and has run several times for public office as a Democrat and Republican without success. He has never raised much money in any of his races.
Republican incumbents Lyn Stewart, Jim Main and Glenn Murdock have no Democratic opposition for re-election to the state's highest court. The other five Supreme Court seats, all held by Republicans, are not up for election this year.