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.

Confirmed Cases: 14372

Reported Deaths: 693
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds92024
Lauderdale69957
Madison68721
Scott62310
Neshoba56534
Jones52519
Forrest51137
DeSoto4936
Leake39512
Rankin3736
Holmes37324
Jackson30013
Copiah2854
Attala27715
Monroe25324
Leflore25030
Lincoln25022
Newton2504
Harrison2457
Lamar2275
Yazoo2233
Pearl River20731
Pike20211
Adams19015
Lowndes1828
Noxubee1696
Washington1636
Warren1587
Oktibbeha15010
Bolivar14911
Wayne1480
Jasper1483
Covington1411
Clarke13517
Smith13311
Kemper13110
Chickasaw12812
Lafayette1254
Lee1175
Carroll11410
Coahoma1133
Marion1129
Winston1051
Clay1043
Lawrence991
Simpson930
Hancock8711
Yalobusha855
Wilkinson859
Itawamba857
Grenada823
Montgomery811
Sunflower783
Union785
Marshall763
Jefferson Davis752
Tippah7111
Tate691
Panola643
Claiborne642
Calhoun614
Webster591
Amite561
Humphreys537
Tunica523
Walthall510
Perry492
Prentiss413
Jefferson400
Choctaw352
Stone300
Pontotoc283
Franklin272
Tishomingo260
Quitman250
Tallahatchie251
George201
Benton140
Alcorn141
Greene111
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 16310

Reported Deaths: 590
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2085112
Jefferson167397
Montgomery144634
Marshall6609
Tuscaloosa63212
Lee52632
Franklin4986
Shelby47019
Tallapoosa41063
Butler39113
Chambers34024
Madison3154
Elmore3007
Baldwin2829
Walker2821
DeKalb2403
Etowah24011
Dallas2323
Coffee2191
Lowndes21610
Morgan2111
Sumter2106
Autauga1923
Houston1854
Bullock1763
Pike1730
Colbert1612
Calhoun1523
Marengo1506
Choctaw1487
Russell1480
Lauderdale1452
Hale1416
Wilcox1327
Barbour1301
Clarke1282
Randolph1247
Marion11711
St. Clair1081
Pickens964
Dale960
Talladega963
Chilton931
Greene914
Cullman880
Limestone860
Winston770
Covington751
Jackson742
Bibb711
Henry702
Macon672
Crenshaw662
Washington656
Blount531
Escambia483
Lawrence460
Geneva400
Perry360
Conecuh351
Coosa341
Monroe342
Cherokee332
Clay272
Lamar210
Cleburne131
Fayette130
Unassigned00
Tupelo
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Columbus
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