Young Andrew Sorrell was sworn into office as the 41st State Auditor of Alabama in January.

In the early years of Alabama statehood, the State Auditor and State Treasurer were important positions in our 1819 political era.  In those wilderness times of Jacksonian Democracy, it was not unusual for the treasurer and auditor to abscond with some of the fruits of the state coffers.  There were no ethics laws at that time, and the old political maxim of “to the victor goes the spoils” prevailed.

There was a need for an honest man to carefully guard the nest.  The posts of State Auditor, State Treasurer and Secretary of State were your only full-time public servants, who were actually full-time officials who came to the Capitol.  The legislature only met every other year for three months and the governor was usually a Black Belt planter, who was more interested in running his plantation and considered his governor’s job as part time.

Less some of you are offended by the pronoun “he,” there were only male politicians.  It would be 100 years later before women would even have the right to vote in America.  Blacks were still slaves and would be given their freedom 45 years later in 1865, and the right to vote in Alabama 100 years after that in 1965.  Therefore, in early years the Auditor was an important post.

In recent decades, the legislature evolved and became the important entity that the new 1901 Constitution intended.  The legislature created the position of Examiner of Public Accounts.  The legislature rightfully created the office because they appropriated the state funds, they wanted to have their accountant oversee their proper appropriations and accounting of state dollars.

Beginning three or four decades ago there became a rallying to do away with the State Auditor’s position.  Some would say it was unnecessary and a waste of money.  That balloon would never really get off the ground.  The State Auditor’s office costs less than one percent of the State General Fund budget, and it is difficult to do away with a state constitutional office.  Besides, someone or some office has to be in charge of keeping up with the state’s cars, desks, chairs and computers.

Andrew Sorrell seems to be the perfect fit for this statewide office. While some have used the post in recent years to demagogue and take positions on state matters that the State Auditor is not involved with to try to build name identification, Sorrell is honest, upright and appears to want to make the State Auditors job an important post as opposed to a demagogic stunt show.

Andrew Sorrell is only 37 years old.  He has an attractive young family.  Hannah, his wife, is a successful realtor in their home area of Muscle Shoals.  Their daughter, Liberty, who is only two, became a TV star in Andrew’s campaign commercials last year.  Andrew and Hannah currently bring her to political events around the state.  She steals the show, as she did during the campaign.  Liberty has been joined this month by a baby sister, Glory, born June 1.

Andrew Sorrell was 36 years old when elected Auditor last year.  He served one four-year term in Alabama House of Representatives from 2018 through 2022.  .

He ran an excellent campaign for Auditor in 2021-2022.  He was able to raise $324,000 and loaned his campaign $393,000, which shows he has been successful in the private sector.  This amount of money over $700,000, is unparalleled in this state Auditor’s race.  He was able to smother and dwarf the campaigns of former State Senator Rusty Glover of Mobile and Reverend Stan Cooke of Jefferson County in the Republican Primary.  Both Cooke and Glover had previously run and started with more name identification than Sorrell.

Sorrell ran a perfectly scripted modern campaign using both television and social media.  He spent his money wisely and designed his own ads.  He also worked the state tirelessly campaigning one-on-one for two years.

Andrew Sorrell is a very capable, bright star on the political scene in the Heart of Dixie.  He is part of an interesting trend of a trio of superstars on the political horizon in Alabama – State Auditor Sorrell, Secretary of State Wes Allen and Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth, who all served one four year term in the Alabama House of Representative before being elected statewide.  The State House of Representatives seems to be the new launching pad for state political office.

See you next week.

Steve Flowers

Alabama’s premier columnist and commentator, Steve has analyzed Alabama politics for national television audiences on CBS, PBS, ABC and the British Broadcasting Network. Steve has been an up close participant and observer of the Alabama political scene for more than 50 years and is generally considered the ultimate authority on Alabama politics and Alabama political history.

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