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Fundraising, ethics upfront in lieutenant governor's primary

Three million dollars have poured into the Alabama lieutenant governor's race as four candidates vie for a statewide position with limited responsibilities other than succeeding the governor.

Posted: Apr 22, 2018 7:39 PM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Three million dollars have poured into the Alabama lieutenant governor's race as four candidates vie for a statewide position with limited responsibilities other than succeeding the governor.

In the Republican primary, Alabama Public Service Commission president Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh is running against two state legislators: Rep. Will Ainsworth from Guntersville and Sen. Rusty Glover from Mobile.

The lieutenant governor presides over the state Senate, but only casts a vote in the event of a tie. He or she serves on two dozen committees and appoints more than 400 state positions. The primary responsibility is succeeding the governor if he or she dies, resigns or is impeached. A failed Senate bill this year attempted to strip the lieutenant governor's powers and criticized the role as simply a political stepping stone to the governor's office.

The lieutenant governor position has been vacant since April 2017 when Kay Ivey succeeded Robert Bentley as governor. Bentley quit while embroiled in a sex scandal. If Ivey wins election in November, she will be Alabama's oldest governor at 74.

Analyst and former University of Alabama politics professor William Stewart said Ivey would be unlikely to run for a second term.

"The lieutenant governor race is more significant this year," Stewart said. "More money has gravitated toward the race because it seems to be a foregone conclusion that whoever is elected as lieutenant governor this year, that person will almost automatically become the favorite for the governorship four years from now."

Stewart said Cavanaugh has name recognition advantage as an already elected statewide official.

The Republican nominee will face Democrat Will Boyd, a minister who lost the U.S. Senate special election primary against Doug Jones last year.

The four candidates are vying for funds ahead of the June 5 primary. As of April 19, Ainsworth and Cavanaugh have both raised just shy of $900,000. Cavanaugh started the campaign with more than $500,000 and Ainsworth loaned himself the same amount to match her. The most recent filings show that Cavanaugh outstripped her opponents by raising more than $70,000 in March, although Ainsworth still boasts more than $1 million currently in hand.

Glover trails significantly, having raised just around $125,000. Boyd has raised less than $4,400.

Beyond fundraising, ethics is a top issue in the race as the Legislature looks to review the state's ethics law next year and lawmakers currently face corruption charges. GOP contenders are trumpeting their integrity and staunch conservatism.

Cavanaugh, a seasoned politician, touts her six-year record as the Alabama Public Service Commission president. She said she has regulated ethics and cut costs, never taking a state car. She hands out her personal cellphone number because she believes elected officials should be approachable.

Cavanaugh was on the ticket for governor last year but told The Associated Press that after meeting with Ivey, she decided she would run for "second-string quarterback" instead.

"We need a very strong, ethical, honest and Christian public servant if necessary. We always pray that our governor is in good health and doing a good job, but we have to be prepared," she said.

In a private interview, Cavanaugh steered controversial subjects such as racial profiling toward her Christian faith and belief that Alabama has a "bright future" — a reference to her campaign slogan playing off her unique first name.

Ainsworth, the owner of a sportsman's lodge and founder of a prominent hunting and fishing expo, said his comparative lack of experience is a good sign that he's not a corrupt career politician.

"I don't believe we're going to solve problems that have plagued us for decades by hiring the same people. I think we're a fresh face," Ainsworth said.

In his one term in the House of Representatives, Ainsworth sponsored bills to impose term limits and let voters recall elected officials who don't keep campaign promises.

This year, Ainsworth introduced a bill to arm trained teachers after a shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. He ran his first campaign ad using the catchphrase "teachers can't arm themselves with a number 2 pencil."

Three-term state Sen. Glover is the only candidate with experience in the legislative body that the lieutenant governor leads. Glover is most well-known for introducing a resolution to stop changing clocks under daylight saving time. He said that as lieutenant governor he would promote education, and economic and workforce development.

"I want to preside over the Senate in a fair way and be an honest person," Glover said. "I want to be someone people can trust."

Boyd, the uncontested Democratic candidate, said he is fighting for education, health care and social equality.

The primary is June 5.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 473413

Reported Deaths: 9214
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison32339474
Hinds30703575
DeSoto29814346
Jackson23263336
Rankin21111358
Lee14600217
Madison14043265
Jones13165218
Forrest12953233
Lauderdale11418297
Lowndes10249175
Lamar10048128
Pearl River8737209
Lafayette8078136
Hancock7324111
Washington6837147
Oktibbeha6820118
Neshoba6404201
Monroe6372158
Warren6326161
Pontotoc610393
Panola6071124
Bolivar6016143
Marshall5972118
Union564086
Pike5491133
Lincoln5232130
Alcorn520888
George457868
Scott451993
Leflore4401140
Prentiss437276
Itawamba436198
Tippah436180
Simpson4268111
Copiah425586
Wayne424863
Tate4234100
Adams4219114
Yazoo415886
Sunflower4088104
Covington407391
Marion4032100
Leake393185
Coahoma388198
Newton364474
Grenada3517101
Stone345657
Tishomingo324888
Attala321185
Jasper310262
Winston300391
Clay288273
Chickasaw282164
Clarke277487
Calhoun259739
Holmes259485
Smith243947
Yalobusha216747
Tallahatchie215649
Walthall205557
Greene204045
Lawrence203831
Perry196453
Amite193751
Webster191941
Noxubee174538
Montgomery169853
Jefferson Davis165541
Carroll159937
Tunica148434
Benton139433
Kemper137439
Claiborne125634
Choctaw124925
Humphreys123337
Franklin115227
Quitman101825
Wilkinson99835
Jefferson86632
Sharkey62120
Issaquena1916
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 768301

Reported Deaths: 13209
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1093481727
Mobile699891179
Madison48418589
Baldwin35707452
Shelby35193291
Tuscaloosa33029512
Montgomery32582664
Lee21908204
Calhoun20140377
Morgan19351318
Etowah18583433
Marshall17272259
Houston16139353
St. Clair14956276
Limestone14129180
Cullman14069235
Elmore14010245
Lauderdale13128272
Talladega12399215
DeKalb11890229
Walker10231312
Autauga9493127
Blount9418149
Jackson9115136
Coffee8646161
Colbert8324169
Dale8284159
Escambia6456106
Tallapoosa6394168
Covington6313157
Chilton6243133
Russell591654
Franklin563597
Chambers5240132
Marion4628115
Dallas4626178
Clarke451471
Pike450091
Geneva4252106
Winston407987
Lawrence4046102
Bibb396177
Barbour338968
Marengo320981
Monroe311547
Butler309783
Pickens298769
Randolph294055
Henry293856
Hale286081
Cherokee279850
Fayette272271
Washington243545
Crenshaw232265
Clay221561
Macon214454
Cleburne209748
Lamar187839
Conecuh177139
Lowndes169056
Coosa163631
Wilcox154335
Bullock147142
Perry134235
Sumter123335
Greene119241
Choctaw72325
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