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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: 259117

Reported Deaths: 5668
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17331186
Hinds16373328
Harrison13731199
Rankin10854217
Jackson10557187
Lee8922141
Madison8335166
Jones6483112
Forrest6038120
Lauderdale5965187
Lowndes5425118
Lafayette503193
Lamar490865
Washington4826124
Bolivar4024109
Oktibbeha397681
Panola374680
Pontotoc369855
Monroe3591105
Warren3569100
Union348063
Marshall347769
Neshoba3413152
Pearl River3329103
Leflore3059107
Lincoln299386
Sunflower288271
Hancock282559
Tate274362
Alcorn267454
Itawamba265260
Pike264679
Scott250847
Prentiss248252
Yazoo247356
Tippah244450
Copiah243949
Coahoma242254
Simpson238368
Leake232966
Grenada220671
Covington215072
Marion215073
Adams207870
Wayne203232
Winston202667
George201939
Newton195044
Attala194659
Tishomingo191661
Chickasaw185744
Jasper174438
Holmes169168
Clay161335
Tallahatchie148235
Stone145921
Clarke141762
Calhoun137621
Smith122725
Yalobusha119134
Walthall112836
Noxubee111423
Greene111029
Montgomery110136
Carroll105321
Lawrence103217
Perry102831
Amite98826
Webster93924
Tunica87421
Claiborne86625
Jefferson Davis85827
Benton83323
Humphreys83324
Kemper78420
Quitman6969
Franklin67115
Choctaw61213
Wilkinson58825
Jefferson55419
Sharkey44017
Issaquena1596
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 429655

Reported Deaths: 6283
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson63040956
Mobile30794557
Madison27486201
Tuscaloosa20996268
Montgomery19352315
Shelby18833120
Baldwin16653184
Lee12749102
Morgan12389119
Etowah11861176
Calhoun11292201
Marshall10290113
Houston8746156
Limestone813276
Cullman8125106
Elmore7999104
DeKalb776599
Lauderdale768698
St. Clair7651121
Talladega6309108
Walker5954174
Jackson586341
Colbert539873
Blount537683
Autauga525755
Coffee450456
Dale402981
Franklin369948
Russell340711
Chilton338966
Covington332668
Escambia326043
Dallas308896
Chambers293170
Clarke287833
Tallapoosa2641107
Pike255230
Marion248953
Lawrence246649
Winston229535
Bibb218847
Geneva205446
Marengo202829
Pickens197531
Hale179542
Barbour176036
Fayette172928
Butler170858
Cherokee161930
Henry156523
Monroe149818
Randolph142135
Washington139126
Clay127645
Crenshaw121544
Cleburne119023
Lamar119021
Macon118637
Lowndes112036
Wilcox105121
Bullock101128
Perry99019
Conecuh95720
Sumter89626
Greene76623
Coosa61015
Choctaw51624
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