MONTGOMERY (AP) — State Sen. Cam Ward announced Monday he will challenge two-term incumbent Justice Greg Shaw for a seat on the Alabama Supreme Court, setting up a significant Republican primary battle in 2020.
Both men indicated they will file campaign paperwork with the Alabama Republican Party when qualifying opens this week.
Shaw was first elected to the Supreme Court in 2008 and was re-elected in 2014. He previously served on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals from 2001-2009. He announced Friday that he would seek a third term.
"I will once again ask the voters to place their trust in me to serve with integrity, impartiality and always place the law over politics," Shaw said in a Friday statement.
Shaw is a graduate of Auburn University and Samford University's Cumberland School of Law. His wife, Samantha Shaw, served two terms after being elected state auditor.
A prominent member of the Alabama Senate, Ward is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He is best known for spearheading prison and criminal justice reform efforts and advocating for the autism community.
"My judicial philosophy will be easy to understand. As a judge, my role will be to interpret the law exactly as it is written, not to write new ones," Ward said in a statement.
He is a graduate of Troy University and Samford's Cumberland School of Law. Ward was first elected to the Alabama Legislature in 2002, serving first in the House of Representatives and later the Alabama Senate.
Ward was arrested for driving under the influence in 2015 but completed a pretrial diversion program for first-time offenders. After his arrest, Ward issued a public apology and said he had been using alcohol as a "crutch."
The race will be one of several closely watched GOP primaries in March.