Alabamans voted for a new governor and two U.S. senators in a primary election yesterday with Gov. George C. Wallace on the sidelines for the first time in 16 years.
Wallace was barred by law from seeking reelection after an unprecendented three terms as governor and part of another term as a stand-in for his first wife, the late Gov. Lurleen Wallace.
The Democratic frontrunner in the governors race was Albert Brewer, who served the remaining 32 months of Lurleen Wallace's term after she died of cancer May 7, 1968. The other top contenders were Attorney General Bill Baxley, Lt. Gov. Jere Beasley, former Auburn football star Fob James and state Sen. Sid McDonald.
Wallace made no public endorsement.
The Democratic nomination was considered tantamount to election.No Republican candidate has won state or national office in Alabama in the past 100 years.
Seeking the Republican gubernatorial nomination were former probate judge Guy Hunt of Cullman; Bert Hayes, a professor at Athens State University and Julian Elgin, a Montgomery cattleman.
If no candidate received a majority of the vote, a runoff would be held Sept. 26 between the top two vote-getters.
Two new U.S. senators will be elected in Alabama in the same year for the first time ever. One will serve the unexpired term of the late Sen. James B. Allen; the other will succeed Sen. John J. Sparkman, who is retiring after 40 years in the Senate.
Allen's widow and temporary successor, Sen. Maryon Allen, had four opponents in her race for the remaining two years of her husband's term. The other candidates were state Sen. Donald Stewart of Anniston, Ted Taylor of Prattville, Dan Wiley of Mobile and Gene Myracle of Gadsden.
Two Republicans, former state Senator Elvin McCary of Anniston and George W. Nichols of Tuscaloosa, sought their party's nomination for the rest of Allen's term.
The frontrunners for the Democratic nomination for Sparkman's seat were U.S. Rep. Walter Flowers of Tuscaloosa and former Alabama chief justice Howell Health of Tuscumbia.
Rep. James Martin was unopposed for the Republican nomination.
In North Dakota, veteran U.S. Rep. Mark Andrews, a Republican, and his Democratic Bruce Hagen, ran unopposed for the state's single U.S. House seat. Andrews, 52, seeking a eighth term, defeated Hagen by nearly 2-to-1 in 1963.