Ronald Wayne Blankenship, a candidate in the runoff for the Democratic nomination for Jefferson County sheriff, says it's coincidence that a man with a criminal past shares his name and birthdate.
It's strange but true, he says, that both he and a man who faked his own death in 1990 are married to women named Judy Ruth Green Stonecipher Blankenship.
Blankenship calls himself an underdog. The Bessemer shoe shop owner received 12,218 votes or 25.9 percent in the June 6 primary last week. He did little campaigning and spent little money. He is vying for the Democratic nomination for sheriff with Ron McGuffie, a former sheriff's deputy and dispatcher. Blankenship, 63, beat out veteran lawman C.D. Horton to make the runoff.
Little was known about Blankenship during the campaign. He refused to release personal information and declined to be interviewed, citing fear of identity theft.
Blankenship, who said he's a former policeman, 20-year Ford Motor Co. worker and U.S. Navy veteran, said he's never been in trouble. "I stand before the Lord," he said. "I've never been convicted of anything."
Vestavia Hills police Lt. Rick Miller said he's surprised Blankenship is running for public office because he knows Blankenship is the man he arrested in 1990.
"I will be happy to meet him at the county jail and take his fingerprints and compare them," Miller said. "I want to get to the bottom of it, too. If Mr. Blankenship says that's not him, that way we'll know once and for all."