MADISON COUNTY, Ala. - Rex Reynolds (R-Hazel Green) may now be an Alabama state Representative in Montgomery, but he will have to face his opponent, Terry Jones (D-Huntsville) yet again to keep his new job.
"It was a close race. Certainly, the community has spoken," he responded during an interview.
The Alabama Secretary of State's office confirms that because he was sworn in, Reynolds has been placed on the payroll. The election results have not yet been certified, so Reynolds will not be able to vote until that happens.
Both Reynolds and Jones have qualified for the general election to go after the same seat one more time. Because they have no opposition within their own parties, they don't need to participate in the primary election. That means Reynolds and Jones will appear on the November 6, 2018, ballot for House District 21.
Reynolds told us he is already looking ahead.
"Obviously I am," he commented, "but I have to back up and do some work."
Jones said he, too, sees this upcoming election as a fresh start. He sees his performance at the polls on Tuesday as "a promising start," doing better this time than the time before. He and Reynolds were separated by only 264 votes on Tuesday, although there was a weak turnout in the special election. Only 12.5% of eligible registered voters cast a ballot.
Jones, a former high school teacher and coach, says Tuesday was more of a practice round before the general election.
"Like spring training," he laughed. "Yeah. I think that's a good term for it." Later, he added, "We just have to build on what's in the bank as far as, I feel like we have a base of support." He said now is the time to assess what happened and figure out what they can do better next time.
Both candidates will use what they learned on Tuesday moving forward to November, when they fight not just for a chance to complete someone else's term, but for a term of their own.
Jones conceded to Reynolds Tuesday evening and sent this statement to WHNT News 19:
"I want to thank all of the people who supported me in this campaign. You were simply wonderful. I want to thank the people of District 21. I appreciate your support and confidence in me. Alabama is changing, and people care less about party politics and more about character and dedication. This very close race is healthy and shows how we are more alike than different. I congratulate Rex and thank my supporters, and I look forward to a brighter day in Alabama."
Tuesday, Reynolds told WHNT News 19, "I need to look at some projects that Rep. Jim Patterson had pending in the district. I had pledged to fulfill those commitments. We will work with the budget to get that done."