Field set for Huntsville-area House seat, a rare competitive district​

By: - October 23, 2023 7:01 am
Four large letters spell out "VOTE" on a brown wall. The American flag is seen in the foreground.

Signage at an early voting center on Sept. 23, 2016 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

A Republican and a Democrat have qualified for the Alabama House District 10 special election for the Madison County area in March.

Teddy Powell, a Madison City councilman and until recently a budget analyst with the U.S. Department of Defense, qualified for the Republicans. Marilyn Lands, a licensed professional counselor, qualified for the Democrats. She previously ran in 2022 for the seat. No other major-party candidates qualified for the race.

Libertarian Elijah Boyd, who also ran in the 2022 race, is gathering signatures ahead of a Dec. 12 deadline to qualify for the race.


The district is one of a handful of competitive seats in the Alabama Legislature. Former Rep. David Cole, R-Madison, who resigned in August after pleading guilty to unlawful voting charges, got 52% of the vote in 2022 to Democratic nominee Lands’ 45%. Libertarian nominee Boyd got 3%.

Madison County judge accepts former state Rep. David Cole’s plea agreement

Lands said that she’s confident they can turn those voters back out.

“I feel like we have very good momentum because of running before,” she said. “We worked so hard. We had over 100,000 direct voter contacts. We knocked on thousands of doors, and we have name recognition out there.”

Lands said that it’s only a matter of “working that ground game” and talking to constituents. Since the special election will come a few weeks after Alabama’s presidential primary, the campaign will have to get the message out to voters that they will have to vote twice in one month.

Powell believes he’s got the “experience to get things done” in Montgomery. He cited broad commercial investment in the city during his time as city councilman.

He said that was a result of local investment in schools.

“As you have economic development, good education, you start to see lifestyle improvements and that’s what we want for the state of Alabama. That’s why we’re running,” Powell said.

The City of Madison was able to fund a Pre-K program through revenue from taxes due to economic development. Powell  said he’d like to see that go statewide but added that the funding mechanism for a state program needs to be worked out.

“I’m just a guy trying to bring common sense for the common people in Montgomery,” he said. “And I don’t want to be just their voice, I want to get things done.”

Libertarian candidate Boyd said that his 2022 campaign wasn’t very active, but that’s changed this time around. He’s got several people working on this race, and he believes it’s a “wonderful” opportunity for Libertarians.

Cole acknowledged in his plea agreement that he did not live in the district at the time of his election last year.

“I’m hoping we can make a change in District 10 because, you know, the GOP wasn’t interested in following the rules or listening to their other primary candidate,” Boyd said.

Boyd said he doesn’t think a GOP representative would be good for the district.

“I don’t want the citizens and voters to lose out on a representative that represents them. The behavior of the GOP doesn’t seem like they care for the rule of law. And they don’t seem to be open to listening to very valid information,” Boyd said.

He said they are targeting voters who have felt unheard by both Republicans and Democrats. He said many people don’t vote at all because it seems to not matter who’s in charge.

“Many people don’t vote at all in the elections because it seems to not matter who’s in charge, that the government grows and the freedom of the individual lessens,” Boyd said. “I think there’s going to be some people upset with the Republican Party and all of this, and they’ll be looking to make a change.”

The House District 10 election is scheduled for March 26, 2024.


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Alander Rocha
Alander Rocha

Alander Rocha is a journalist based in Montgomery, and he reports on government, policy and healthcare. He previously worked for KFF Health News and the Red & Black, Georgia's student newspaper. He is a Tulane and Georgia alumnus with a two-year stint in the U.S. Peace Corps.