In 2010, Dean and Hurst both ran to represent House District 35, which includes parts of Talladega, Clay, Calhoun and Coosa counties, but Hurst ran as a Democrat.
Hurst, now serving his fourth term, was part of a wave of Democrats who switched to the Republican party after the 2010 elections, which put control of the Alabama Legislature in the hands of the GOP for the first time since Reconstruction.
In a press release announcing his candidacy Friday, Dean said the district needs a strong pro-business advocate who will recruit new companies and strengthen the ones the area already has. He said because he started a manufacturing business that now employs 39 people, he knows how to do that.
“I know firsthand what it takes to build a business from the ground up, to create good-paying jobs and to grow our local economy,” he said in the release.
Asked about his challenger, Hurst said Dean is a nice man from a great family.
“I wish he wouldn’t, but if he chooses to run, we’ll let the voters make the decision,” he said.
Dean will have the support of one of the state’s most powerful Republican leaders.
Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh said he’ll back the challenger in the race.
Marsh, of Anniston, said he believes Dean, who’s owned BD Precision Manufacturing in Oxford since 2001, is a great businessman and understands economic development.
“I consider him a friend and truly think he would make a great legislator,” Marsh said.
State campaign finance records show Marsh's campaign contributed $10,000 to Dean’s campaign in 2010.
Dean said that if he’s elected, he hopes to focus on legislation that helps small businesses. He pointed to bills like one sponsored by Rep. Bill Roberts, R-Jasper, that would require municipalities to pay contractors within 45 days from the completion of a project.
“When they’re waiting to get their grant money, they really hold the contractors up,” he said.
Dean also said he would work to expand the Alabama Math Science and Technology Initiative and to promote more career technical training and schools.
“We need people to build stuff and to make things,” he said.
If re-elected, Hurst said, he plans on reintroducing a bill he filed during the last legislative session that would change the state’s law on sexual abuse crimes. This proposal would require offenders 21 or older who are convicted of sexaully abusing a child under 12 to agree to surgical castration before being considered for release.
“I’ll introduce it every year until it gets passed,” he said.
Hurst is also known for sponsoring the Castle Doctrine Bill, which strengthened home self-defense rights for Alabamians. The bill, signed into law, authorized citizens to shoot an intruder if the homeowner believes his life is at risk. Before the law, residents were required to retreat to the farthest room in their home.
Hurst was appointed to the Talladega County Commission in 1985 by then-governor George Wallace. Hurst served as a commissioner for eight years.
Dean is a member of both the Talladega County Republican Executive Committee and the Alabama Republican Party State Executive Committee. He’s also vice chairman for the Alabama GOP’s third congressional district.
Assistant Metro Editor Daniel Gaddy: 256-235-3562. On Twitter @DGaddy_Star.