Montgomery, Ala. The candidates in the Republican runoff for secretary of state on July 15 are seeking votes by arguing about their party pedigrees and their conservative credentials.
Former Montgomery County Probate Judge Reese McKinney says he's always been a Republican, while his opponent hasn't. McKinney also says that his job as probate judge included many of the duties of secretary of state, including managing elections.
State Representative John Merrill of Tuscaloosa says he switched to the GOP in 2004 and has a proven record of conservatism. That includes backing legislation to streamline government, strengthen the state ethics law and require voters to show photo IDs at the polls. Merrill says that record helped him pick up many endorsements, including the Business Council of Alabama and the National Rifle Association.