Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 6, 2002

Salaam expresses relief

By Dale James / Selma Times – Journal

Like a football game in which the final score fails to indicate just how close it was, Yusuf Salaam’s victory in the state House District 67 race was almost anti-climactic.

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Salaam received 6,192 votes to 5,349 for Republican Mark Story and 2,548 for write-in candidate LaTosha Brown.

Salaam battled Brown for the Democratic nomination for weeks after the June 4 primary and June 25 runoff. Brown initially won the primary, then lost to Salaam in the runoff. She contested the runoff results, but was overruled by the state Democratic Executive Committee.

It was uphill sledding for Brown in the general election. No write-in candidate has ever won an election in Dallas County, according to Alston Keith, Dallas County Democratic Party chairman.

For his part, Story expressed disappointment at losing but added that he was encouraged a Republican candidate pulled such strong numbers in the traditionally Democratic Black Belt.

Story maintained a low profile throughout the travails of his Democratic counterpart, steadfastly refusing to try and turn a situation that angered many voters on both sides of the issue to his political advantage.

He complimented Salaam on avoiding the negative campaigning that accompanied so many other races across the state this election.

Said Story, &uot;Mister Salaam and I have worked together before. We were friends before the election, and we’ll continue to be friends now that the election is over. Now that Mister Salaam is our District 67 representative, we’re going to be behind him, helping him to be the representative that the people need.&uot;

Salaam echoed that thought. &uot;My plans are to go to Montgomery and represent Dallas County to the best of my ability, to bring the citizens of this district together with peace, reconciliation and sober living. That means putting an end to all this race-based politics.&uot;

Keith said he did not foresee any long-term fallout from the drawn-out process of

selecting the Democratic nominee.