MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Republican Rep. Wes Allen, a state legislator and former probate judge, announced Thursday that he will run for secretary of state in 2022.
Allen is the first announced candidate for the office. Current Secretary of State John Merrill is vacating the position after next year because state law only allows him to serve two consecutive terms.
Allen, a Republican from Troy, served as the probate judge of Pike County for nearly 10 years before being elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 2018. As probate judge, Allen was responsible for managing the county’s elections, a responsibility he said prepares him for the office that serves as Alabama chief election official.
“My entire career has prepared me for this position. As a probate judge, I ran 18 elections without a single error or problem,” Allen said in a statement.
“I will be there to support hardworking election officials across this state, both Republican and Democrat, to do everything possible to assist them and to ensure that we have the most secure elections in this country. I want every legal Alabama voter to know that their vote is important, it matters and it will be protected.”
Allen was one of several probate judges who — after judges struck down state bans on same-sex marriage — stopped issuing marriage licenses altogether to avoid issuing the licenses to gay couples. Allen said in 2019 that he received overwhelming support for his decision.
Allen this year sponsored legislation to forbid curbside voting in Alabama.
Allen is a graduate of the University of Alabama and a member of the First Baptist Church of Troy. He is married and has two children.