Governor Kay Ivey assumed the title of Governor a year and a half ago with the resignation of Robert Bentley. A teacher and banker throughout much of her career, Ivey was elected state treasurer in 2003 and served two-terms before being elected lt. governor in 2011 and reelected in 2015. At the age of 74 (her birthday was Monday), Ivey was not expected to seek another political office until the Governorship fell into her lap.
Her opponent is four-term Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox, a 45-year old moderate Democrat who has campaigned tirelessly throughout the state trying to build on the momentum that got Senator Doug Jones elected in a special election last year. Maddox is an attractive candidate with a lot of good ideas and if he had a (R) beside his name he could probably have his pick of political office. But, he doesn’t, so he loses, and it isn’t even going to be close.
Newbie politico Will Ainsworth of Guntersville survived a bruising primary and runoff campaign defeating Republican stalwart and President of the Public Service Commission Twinkle Cavanaugh for the GOP nomination to become lt. governor. The 37-year old Ainsworth is serving his first term in the Alabama legislature and is the owner of a hunting lodge.
His Democratic opponent is Dr. Will Boyd, Jr., a relative unknown who is currently the presiding Bishop of Zion Ministries in Florence, Alabama. Boyd has previously run unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate and Congress.
Incumbent Attorney General Steve Marshall was the District Attorney for Marshall County before being elevated to statewide office, two years ago, by then-Gov. Robert Bentley. Marshall was handpicked by Bentley to finish the term of Luther Strange, who Bentley appointed to the U.S. Senate replacing now-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Marshall persevered through a crowded primary field and personal tragedy when just weeks’ prior to facing Troy King in the runoff his wife, Bridgette, took her own life. Marshall went on to defeat King with 62 percent of the vote.
Ironically, it was, Don Siegelman, father of his Democratic opponent, who gave Marshall his start by appointing him district attorney in 2001. He was elected by his own right in 2004 and re-elected in 2010 as a Democrat. Marshall converted to the GOP in late 2011 and won re-election again, but as a Republican.
Joseph Siegelman wants to follow in his father’s footsteps. Qualifying to run for attorney general at the last minute, Siegelman defeated Chris Christie in the Democratic primary. The 29-year old is managing partner in The Cochran Firm’s Birmingham office. Siegelman along with a handful of others are the future of Alabama Democrat politics, but not this time.
Alabama Chief Justice
Associate Justice Tom Parker defeated a well-funded business friendly incumbent back in the June primary to secure the GOP nomination for Chief Justice. Parker, who is serving his third term on the Alabama Supreme Court, narrowly beat Lyn Stuart, who was appointed Chief Justice by Gov. Kay Ivey after the removal of Roy Moore.
In what is expected to be the closest statewide race, Parker faces Bob Vance a longtime Birmingham Circuit Judge who narrowly lost to Moore in 2012. Vance, despite being the Democrat, has received many endorsements within the business community. Parker, on the other hand, has received most of his funding from trial lawyers.
There might be a Blue Wave sweeping across parts of the country, but not these parts. Alabama Democrats, despite not having a functional party apparatus have shown more enthusiasm this election cycle and fielded some very good candidates. But, with that said; Republicans have also shown plenty of enthusiasm and will win all statewide elected offices in the November election. Republicans are also likely to pick up even more seats in the Alabama legislature, where they have held a super-majority since 2010.
While always a chance for a surprise or two, in some local and legislative races, the status quo will remain.