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FRIDAY, MARCH 30, 2007

Judge scraps lawsuit challenging senator's election

MONTGOMERY (AP) — A judge dismissed a lawsuit Thursday challenging the election of Democratic state Sen. Larry Means of Gadsden, which his attorneys said assures him of serving a full four-year term in the Legislature.

Circuit Judge Sandra Storm issued a three-sentence order saying the court "is without jurisdiction to hear" the suit that Means' write-in opponent, Jack Lowe Jr. of Gadsden, and his wife filed against state election officials.

Storm sided with Means' attorneys, Matt Lembke and Terry Butts, who had argued that Lowe didn't file a proper election challenge immediately after the general election and any dispute over Means' election could now be decided by only the state Senate.

The Lowes' attorney, Greg Hawley, said he had not yet discussed the ruling with his clients and didn't know if they would appeal. Storm's ruling follows the same reasoning as one issued earlier this month by Montgomery County Circuit Judge Charles Price, who said he lacked jurisdiction to hear a suit challenging the election of four powerful Democratic senators: Senate Majority Leader Zeb Little of Cullman, Senate Rules Committee Chairman Lowell Barron, and Senate budget committee Chairmen Roger Bedford of Russellville and Hank Sanders of Selma.

Both suits involved the senators' filings of campaign finance reports with the secretary of state.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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