Judge rules in favor of Florence teen’s bid for city council, despite age discrepancy

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Chase Holcombe is questioned during a court hearing on Monday. (Carter Watkins / WHNT News 19)

FLORENCE, Ala. – A resident who wishes to seek the Florence City Council District Five seat has taken questions concerning his qualifications to court.

According to the Code of Alabama, a candidate seeking municipal office must be a resident of the town or city for at least 90 days. It also states the candidate must be 18 years old.  Chase Holcombe turns 18 the day after qualifying ends.

This is why attorneys for Holcombe and the city of Florence appeared in court Monday.

Holcombe’s attorney cited a Federal Appeals Court opinion which said because of a calendar year, a person actually ages the day before a birthday.

“I never anticipated I wouldn’t get to run,” said Holcombe. “That’s why when I went the first day I had the laws printed out and ready to argue my case for it. However, I never anticipated it would end up in court.”

Attorneys for the city of Florence said they are just following the direction of the Alabama Attorney General and League of Municipalities.

“We are required by Alabama Code, by the statute, to only allow somebody to put their name on the ballot if they are going to be a qualified elector as of the date, as of 5 p.m. on the last day of registration,” explained attorney Larry Moore, who represents the city of Florence.

Late Monday afternoon, Judge Self ruled that Chase Holcombe will be allowed to sign his statement of candidacy in the city of Florence. The issue of whether or not Chase Holcombe is a qualified candidate is not presently before the court, so Self said that is not up for a ruling.