In July 2020, some Republicans took issue with Gov. Kay Ivey’s appointments to judicial vacancies.
At the time, Ivey appointed Jim Naftel, identified by some to be a Democrat, to replace a vacancy left behind by Jefferson County Probate Judge Alan King.
The appointment came to the disappointment of some Jefferson County Republicans at the time, including Jefferson County Republican Party chairman Paul DeMarco, State Sen. Jabo Waggoner (R-Vestavia Hills), State Rep. Jim Carns (R-Vestavia Hills) and Jefferson County Commissioner President Jimmie Stephens.
During an interview with Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show” on Friday, former U.S. ambassador to Slovenia Lindy Blanchard, a Republican candidate for governor in Alabama, insisted that Ivey created this trend that went beyond Jefferson County.
“We’re researching her appointments, and first we started with judges,” Blanchard said. “So far, we have found, and we have been told there are more, but we want to have names and dates before we see anything — other than we have found eight Democrats that she’s appointed to the judgeship.
“We all know how important it is to have our judges conservative, so that’s very concerning when you have a so-called Republican governor appointing Democrats for judges. There are other things that we’ll be highlighting.”
In response to an 1819 News inquiry, the Blanchard campaign offered the following eight judges as Democrats appointed to the bench by Ivey:
1) Anne Lamkin Durward, appointed June 5, 2020; Alabama’s 10th Judicial Circuit
2) James “Jim” Naftel II, appointed June 30, 2020; Place 1 of the Jefferson County Probate Court
3) J.C. Love, III, appointed November 15, 2019; Probate Court Judge for Montgomery County
4) Martha R. Cook, appointed April 1, 2019; Place 1 of Jefferson County District Court
5) Monet E. Gaines, appointed November 2018; Alabama’s 15th Judicial Circuit
6) Holbrook E. Reid, appointed May 16, 2019; Alabama’s 15th Judicial Circuit
7) Shanta’ C. Owens, appointed January 2019; Alabama’s 10th Judicial Circuit Place 2
8) Clinton H. Hyde, appointed January 23, 2020; Alabama’s 25th Judicial Circuit