District 7 Senate runoff: Willis 'empowered,' Barros to change strategy

District 7 Senate runoff: Willis 'empowered,' Barros to change strategy
Updated: Jun. 6, 2018 at 4:29 PM CDT
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Diedra Willis and Deborah Barros began round two of their campaigns Wednesday, preparing for their July runoff.

Neither of the Democratic Candidates for Senate District 7 got 51 percent of the vote, the percentage needed for the party nomination Tuesday night. Willis fell just short, securing 50 percent of the votes. Barros came in second with 36 percent.

Johnathan Hard came in third with 14 percent of the vote, failing to qualify for the July 17 runoff.

Willis said she feels "empowered" by the results and will go door to door to get her numbers up.

"They understand the need for a change, and for making history," Willis said.

She said education would be a focus before the runoff, and wants to bring more certified teachers to the area and increase support for after-school programs. Willis said her upbringing in Huntsville sets her apart from her opponent.


Barros said gerrymandering was responsible for her lower numbers, because some of her supporters didn't realize she wouldn't be on their ballots.

"So what I have to do is kind of flip it in the areas where I am on the ballot, and make sure these people know that I'm the best voice that they have from this district," Barros said.

She said she would be in touch with the people in Huntsville, and work for the issues that matter most to them.

"They're upset about healthcare, they're upset about education, there are some who are upset about infrastructure," she said.

Barros said her ability reach across the aisle sets her apart from Willis.

District 7 voters who didn't vote Tuesday can vote in the July runoff. Alabama state law prohibits individuals who voted in the Republican primaries to vote in a Democratic runoff, and vice versa.

The winner of the District 7 runoff will face Sam Givhan in the November general election. Republican Paul Sanford currently holds the seat.

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