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Runoff: Calhoun and Cleckler race on for probate judge

The race is on for Chilton County probate judge candidates Jason Calhoun and Rex Cleckler after a close brush with victory by the June 5 primary election results.

Accounting for 3,512 votes, Cleckler took the lead, surpassing Calhoun’s 3,137 votes. But with four candidates in the initial race, a winner must be declared by 50 percent of the votes plus one more vote.

A runoff election on July 17 will determine Chilton County’s next probate judge.

Both candidates said they were honored by the support they received during the primary election, and they aim to maintain the Chilton County probate judge open-door policy if elected to the office.

“I want them to know that if they trust me with their vote,” Cleckler said, “I’ll do everything in my power to make sure that they’re proud they voted for me.”

The open door, he said, will remain open.

Should he be elected, Calhoun said the open door would be a sort of motto for the probate office.

“That’s the legacy that Judge (Bobby) Martin is leaving behind,” Calhoun said. “It’s a great legacy built on the foundation of help and of hope, and we definitely want to continue that.”

Calhoun said his first project would be to address any interdepartmental communication challenges caused by the different computer systems used by each department.

Ensuring the systems’ compatibility may allow for more efficient service to the people of Chilton County, he said.

“I have dreams and ambitions for the office,” Cleckler said, “but I don’t know [yet] if we’ve got the finances to do what I want to do.” He said his primary focus would be to focus on the accessibility and efficiency of the office as it serves the community.

For the time being, both candidates combat a more pressing challenge: promoting the July 17 runoff election.
Cleckler said signage promoting the probate judge candidates must stay in place until the runoff concludes.

The race is not over, but the finish line is in sight.

“We need as many people as we can get to come back out and vote,” Calhoun said.