Alabama’s Governor Kay Ivey Schedules Special Senate Election, Slams Ex-Gov. Bentley
Alabama has a new governor and she’s overturning business-as-usual. A week after taking over from disgraced Gov. Robert Bentley, Kay Ivey overturned one of his key decisions. She announced that a special election to replace ex-Senator Jeff Sessions — now the U.S. Attorney General — would take place this year.
Bentley refused to schedule a special election. Instead, he intended for his appointee to the Senate, Luther Strange, to hold the position until the regular election in 2018 — giving Strange plenty of time to establish himself as a fact of life in the minds of voters.
Ivey wasn’t having it, nor was she subtle in her criticism of her predecessor. In making the announcement, she said:
I promised to steady our ship of state. This means following the law, which clearly states the people should vote for a replacement US Senator as soon as possible. The new US Senate special election dates this year are a victory for the rule of law.
The rule of law — what a novel concept for the state of Alabama after six years of enduring the rule of scandal-plagued Bentley. The former governor resigned last week rather than face impeachment charges stemming from a sex scandal and criminal investigations. In an interesting twist, it’s the man’s wife — now ex-wife — who precipitated his fall. That’s another story, but you can read about it by clicking this link.
Luther Strange was the Alabama Attorney General until appointed to the Senate seat. He plans to run in the special election, scheduled for August.
It’s Ivey’s statement that she’s following the law because it ‘clearly states’ what is supposed to happen that constitutes a back-of-the-hand smack at Bentley. The Alabama Legislative Black Caucus, Secretary of State John Merrill, and State Auditor Jim Zeigler had all made the case that Bentley wasn’t conforming to the law — to no avail.
According to al.com:
Code of Alabama, Section 36-9-8, says that if a vacancy occurs in a Senate seat more than four months before a general election, the governor is to call a special election ‘forthwith.’
Sounds pretty clear — but Bentley insisted that all he had to do was announce the date for the election “forthwith.” He was alone in his interpretation, but what would that matter to a man who had grown accustomed to flouting the law?
One advocate for an earlier election, Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, had this to say about the statement from Governor Ivey:
Governor Ivey’s announcement this morning puts us one step closer to turning the page on this ugly and shameful period in our state history. This demonstrates a departure from the backroom politics that we have seen for too long in Montgomery. The people of Alabama have the right to decide who represents our state and now they will have that opportunity.
One can only hope that the people of Alabama will reject the candidate who came out of the swamp called ‘backroom politics.’
Feature photo, Gov. Kay Ivey and former Gov. Robert Bentley, official U.S. Air Force photo.