ALABAMA (WRBL) – The Alabama Republican Party has declared Councilman Jay Hovey the GOP’s nominee for Alabama Senate District 27, following new evidence from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency concerning a questionable ballot, along with the withdrawal of an appeal from incumbent Senator Tom Whatley.

Challenger Jay Hovey beat Whatley by one vote after a provisional ballot count. However, Whatley contested the race.

According to ALEA, the individual who cast the ballot did not correctly register to vote in the state of Alabama.

Last Saturday, prior to ALEA confirming the individual was not registered to vote in the state, the Alabama Republican Party had declared a tie in the race between Whatley and Hovey, with the race to be decided by a coin flip.

A re-hearing of the election contest between Hovey and Whatley was held Friday morning. Whatley withdrew his appeal just prior to meeting time.

According to the Alabama Republican Party, “the re-hearing was granted at the request of Jay Hovey, and was based on new evidence in the form of a statement released by ALEA approximately 24 hours after the initial hearing concluded. At the time of the original hearing there was a question as to whether the voter at issue was or was not registered to vote. ALEA’s Statement made it clear that the voter was not registered to vote.”

The decision was made to deny the contest was based on ALEA’s information, according to the Alabama Republican Party.

“After deliberating on the matter, it is the decision of the Committee to vacate its earlier decision and to deny the Contest based on the new information.”

Hovey released the following statement:

“I am honored to be elected as the Republican nominee to the Alabama State Senate from Senate District 27.

I’m thankful for the prayers and words of encouragement from my supporters throughout District 27. This has been a potentially divisive experience. But we have maintained that we would be successful by standing with integrity and running a clean campaign about me and my desire to serve.

I look forward to continuing to campaign to win the November General Election. Beyond November, I pledge to represent the people of Senate District 27 honorably and with integrity in the Alabama Senate.”