Criticized for rarely coming into the office while collecting a $150,000 salary and $90,000 pension, Wood initially announced he would step down, only to change his mind when a longtime political foe made plans to seek the seat.
Wood’s wide name recognition after almost half a century in office scared off several serious contenders. His name remained on the ballot and he took 56 percent of the votes to 44 percent for a Republican who promised to eliminate the office altogether if elected.
Beasley, 77, died on Oct. 12, possibly due to an aneurysm, while trying to reclaim his old seat on the Bibb County Commission in central Alabama.
Beasley’s name also remained on the ballot and he won about 52 percent of the vote. His Democratic opponent, incumbent Commissioner Walter Sansing, took the loss especially hard.
“It is a touchy situation. When you are running against a dead man, you are limited as to what you can say,” Sansing told Reuters.
He blamed people voting straight Republican tickets for his loss.
In Orlando, Scott Randolph, an outgoing Democratic state legislator and state party activist, was selected by his party to receive votes cast for Wood and he will assume the office. In Alabama, the governor will appoint a new commissioner with input from local Republicans.
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