The Race for Governor

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Summer is here, and the race for governor is heating up. Although primary elections are a year away, a number of Democratic and Republican politicians have declared their candidacies. WBHM will be speaking with all of them over the next few months.

Today, voters in Birmingham go to the polls to elect a new City Council and School Board. But there’s another campaign that’s well underway — the 2010 race for Governor. Two Democrats and six Republicans are vying for the chance to be Alabama’s chief executive. Governor Bob Riley is limited to two terms. Throughout the summer, you’ve heard interviews with each of the candidates. As summer winds down, we take a look at how the race is shaping up and what lies ahead. WBHM’s Bradley George spoke with Randolph Horn, a political scientist at Samford University. Horn says the 2010 race is special because its an election for an open seat.

Ron Sparks is in his second term as Alabama’s Commissioner of Agriculture, an office he hopes is not his last in state government. Sparks is running for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2010. He faces a primary opponent in Congressman Artur Davis with name recognition and significant fundraising resources. Ron Sparks tells WBHM’s Andrew Yeager, he’s not worried.


Update: Kay Ivey has dropped out of the race for governor. She is now seeking the Republican lieutenant governor nomination.


Alabama State Treasurer Kay Ivey has been a high school teacher, a bank officer and assistant director of the Alabama Development Office. All experiences she says will serve her well in the governor’s office. Ivey is one of six Republicans running for the GOP nomination for governor. But if there’s any issue associated with her in recent months, it’s Alabama’s prepaid college tuition plan. The treasurer’s office oversees the PACT program, which lost about half its value as the economy tanked. There may not be enough funds to pay for all participants. WBHM’s Andrew Yeager asked Ivey why voters should consider her for governor given the problems with the PACT program.


~ Andrew Yeager, August 11, 2009


He’s traveled the world, served on the Birmingham City Council, managed campaigns for Governor Bob Riley, and helped Alabama get money from the federal government. Those are just a few of the experiences Bill Johnson says will help him win the Republican nomination for governor. His most recent job was Director of the Alabama Department of Community and Economic Affairs — ADECA. The agency is sometimes called the spigot for federal dollars flowing into the state. Johnson stepped down from his post in June to run for governor. He tells WBHM’s Bradley George that his resume is a strong suit in a crowded field of 6 GOP candidates. Johnson also says his time on the Birmingham City Council would come in handy with Jefferson County’s current problems.


~ Bradley George, July 29, 2009

Alabama is rich with political families-Wallace, Folsom, Baxley to name a few. Tim James is from a political family, too. His father, Fob James, was twice elected Governor. In 1978, the elder James ran as a Democrat. In 1994, as a Republican. Tim James is a staunch conservative, one of six Republicans seeking their party’s nomination for governor. This is his second run as Governor-he lost the 2002 GOP primary to Bob Riley. Speaking with WBHM’s Bradley George, Tim James says it’s time to get the fiscal house in order-starting at the national level.



~ Bradley George July 14, 2009

The Republican race for governor is crowded, and it’s not even 2010 yet. While Artur Davis and Ron Sparks remain the only declared candidates for the Democratic nomination, 6 Republicans have thrown their hats into the ring. Among these is Bradley Byrne. He stepped down from his post as president of the state’s two-year college system to pursue the GOP nomination. In his brief tenure in the college system, Byrne has received credit for turning around an institution rife with corruption and mismanagement. Prior to that, the Baldwin County native served five years in the state legislature. In our on going series of conversations with gubernatorial hopefuls, Byrne says his campaign platform is based on the three Es.



~ Bradley George July 7, 2009


Voters in the Republican gubernatorial primary next yet will recognize a familiar name on the ballot. Roy Moore ran for the nomination three years ago. But he is also the former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Moore was removed from the post in 2003 after a high profile legal battle over a Ten Commandments monument at the state judicial building. He spoke with WBHM’s Andrew Yeager about the current Republican primary race. Moore says while some may see the events around the Ten Commandments display as a negative reflection, for others it’s positive.


~ Andrew Yeager, June 30, 2009

When it comes to public health indicators, Alabama often doesn’t fair well. So gubernatorial hopeful Robert Bentley wants to start a “Healthier Alabama” campaign. It’s just one of the ideas from the Tuscaloosa Republican. Bentley stopped by our studio to talk with WBHM’s Andrew Yeager about education, ethics and how he plans to wage a successful campaign. Bentley has been in the Alabama House since 2002. He’s also a doctor. He says both experiences would help him serve as governor.


~ Andrew Yeager, June 10, 2009

Congressman Artur Davis has represented Alabama’s 7th Congressional District since 2002. He’s now running for the Democratic nomination for governor. If he were to win his party’s nomination–and the general election–he would be Alabama’s first African American governor. He spoke with WBHM’s Bradley George