Dothan Eagle about a cautionary election tale that unfolded in Mobile

Municipalities around the state should pay close attention to a cautionary tale that unfolded in the city of Mobile, where a runoff election this week offered voters an unusual choice between a deceased incumbent and a living challenger.

Mobile City Council President Levon Manzie died from an extended illness between the municipal election, and a runoff with challenger William Carroll.

Manzie’s name was still on the ballot for the runoff election. Carroll will be sworn after receiving the most votes. But if Manzie had received more votes than Carroll, another election would’ve been required. And Manziel, though deceased, did get 43% of the vote.

Complicating this particular race were accusations that proponents of a controversial annexation plan opposed by Manzie were working to force a second election with the hope of seating someone who favors the proposal.

It’s an oddity best avoided by more specific legal wording that would remove a candidate who dies from consideration, regardless of printed ballots.

Common sense would suggest that untimely death is a disqualification, and that the remaining runoff candidate win the seat by default. about Bubba Wallace’s historic win

It was a historic finish. And, hopefully, a just-as-significant start.

For Alabamian Bubba Wallace, certainly. It was his first NASCAR Cup Series win. In his 143d start. On a day in his home state when the champagne that showered the victorious 27-year-old driver and his jubilant crew mingled with the rain that doused the Talladega Speedway track not long after Wallace grabbed the lead. Forty-five minutes after the race was halted, with 62 laps to go, he was declared the winner.

Wallace is the second Black winner at the stock racing’s highest level. The first since the late Wendell Scott in 1963.

A year before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed.

Historic, as it was for 23XI Racing, the one-car team whose majority owner is Black. That would, of course, be Michael Jordan.

Thus, 23XI is just the second Black-owned team to win a NASCAR Cup Series race. The first since 1963. Since the team was owned by Wendell Scott.

A handful few have tried. It takes millions and millions to merely get a NASCAR team onto the track (each team is independently owned, like major-league sports franchises). And more millions to field a successful NASCAR team.

Jordan’s net worth, need you be reminded, is $1.6 billion. So says Forbes. He and veteran driver Danny Hamlin, a three-time winner of the Daytona 500, launched 23XI last fall. Talladega was its 31st race.

Former NBA star Brad Daugherty is a partner with JTG Daugherty Racing and the only other Black owner on the top circuit. (The team fields two cars: Ryan Preece’s No. 37 and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.’s No. 47.) Like Jordan, Daugherty’s a North Carolinian who grew up watching racing. He’s been an analyst for ESPN’s NASCAR broadcasts since 2007.

Even the most earnest of NASCAR fans likely know little of Thee Dixon. Between 1989 and 1994, the Durham, NC contractor’s racing team made sporadic appearances on the NASCAR circuit, making him the second Black owner. He died in 2015 at the age of 76.

A few years later, former NFL running back Joe Washington and former NBA All-Star and Hall of Famer Julius (Dr. J) Erving launched Washington-Erving Motorsports. For two seasons it fielded cars on NASCAR’s second-tier Busch (now called Xfinity) Series before running out of gas.

Or cash, rather.

Ownership “is not for the faint of heart,” Daugherty once told the Florida Times-Union.

Brian France, the grandson of NASCAR co-founder Bill France, Sr. seemed genuinely vexed, when asked in 1999, at the dearth of Black drivers.

“Somebody’ll get a break,” he said then. “Somebody will.”

Bubba Wallace was then five years old, Michael Jordan was a mere millionaire.

A historic finish for them both. And, hopefully, a just-as-significant start. On the track and in NASCAR’s owners’ suites.

Might the uber-competitive Jordan reach out to lure some of his rich Black friends to NASCAR? (And there are more out there who can afford it than you may think.)

Oprah, wanna race?

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