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Chip Drago
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Stout/Holland contest
an education in oddity

By Chip Drago
Mobile Bay Times
The GOP primary race between Dr. Judy Stout and John Holland is an odd contest, for a number of reasons, and perhaps appropriately so because the winner's prize is six years on the Mobile County Public School System's Board of Commissioners at less than $1,000 per month.

It calls to mind the old punch line: So what does the loser get? Twelve years?

It is odd because Holland is the challenger, yet he is the one who has experienced success in the political arena. Stout, on the other hand, is an incumbent who has never won, or even run, a campaign for public office.

Adding to the quirkiness, Holland is running for the seat that he won in the last election, only to resign after an ethics complaint was lodged against him. He now says that he regrets resigning, likening his offense -- voting in favor of projects involving Volkert Engineering where his son-in-law was employed -- to "a speeding ticket that didn't get expunged." Stout was then picked to fill the vacancy on the school board.

Furthermore, Stout is bidding for office as a Republican in the same election cycle in which her husband, Circuit Judge Rick Stout, will retain without challenge from either party his seat on the bench as a Democrat.

Holland, who is campaigning as "The Republican," is showing more than half of his campaign's financial support as deriving from political action committees tied to the local teachers' union, whose boss of bosses, Paul Hubbert, is probably the state's most dominant non-elected Democrat for the past 30 years.

Hubbert heads the 94,000-member Alabama Education Association as its executive secretary and treasurer.

The GOP school board District 2 primary is June 6.

Holland's recent campaign financial disclosure showed an ending balance of $19,634.80. He had itemized cash contributions totaling $19,375 and a $4,000 loan from himself. After expenditures of $3,740.20, he was left with just short of $20,000 to spend in the weeks leading up to the party primary.

Among the contributors to Holland's bid were:

Holland's expenditures included $3,057.45 to ABC Signs and $163.02 to MCEA for postage.

Stout had an ending balance of $2,033.74, after just $1,000 in cash contributions and a $1,500 loan from herself. She recorded itemized and non-itemized expenditures totaling $666.26.

Stout's contributors were:

Among her expenditures was $171.20 to Rant-n-Raven for tee-shirts.