Bentley sets Senate special election

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has scheduled a special election for voters to select a replacement for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions.

A special election will be held Nov. 6, 2018, when other statewide elections are held.

Bentley last week appointed Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange to the seat vacated when Sessions became U.S. attorney general.

The Legislative Black Caucus objects to the 2018 date. It says the election should be much sooner than that, in 2017.

The century-old law on Senate vacancies says that elections shall be called "forthwith." However, it doesn't specify a time frame beyond that.

England said "forthwith" means immediately to most people.

The special election timeline finalized Tuesday, as reported by the governor's office appears below:
* A special primary election shall be held on Tuesday, June 5, 2018, if more than one candidate qualifies with either of the major political parties.
* A special primary runoff election shall be held on Tuesday, July 17, 2018, if necessitated by one candidate, of any qualified political party, not receiving a majority of the votes cast in the special primary election.
* The special general election shall be held on Tuesday, November 6, 2018.

All candidates qualifying with major political parties should be advised that the last day for any candidate to qualify with their respective parties, regarding such election, will be Friday, February 9, 2018, at 5:00 p.m. The two major political parties shall certify their qualified candidates to the Secretary of State as soon as possible after the qualification deadline but by no later than 5:00 pm on Thursday, March 15, 2018.

All independent candidates and minor parties seeking ballot access are advised that their deadline for filing of the appropriate ballot access, petitions, and supporting paperwork with the Secretary of State shall be Tuesday, June 5, 2018 at 5:00 p.m.