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: 113876

Reported Deaths: 3238
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7894177
DeSoto693279
Harrison512983
Jackson450384
Rankin389486
Madison381293
Lee351479
Forrest300778
Jones289184
Washington256499
Lafayette248343
Lauderdale2437134
Lamar224238
Oktibbeha200854
Bolivar200477
Neshoba1842111
Lowndes178362
Panola169139
Leflore165887
Sunflower160949
Warren154355
Monroe148172
Pontotoc146119
Marshall141229
Lincoln138957
Pike138256
Copiah136936
Coahoma124936
Scott124929
Yazoo121733
Grenada121638
Simpson121249
Union117425
Tate116039
Leake114640
Holmes114460
Pearl River112959
Itawamba112225
Adams107343
Prentiss104819
Wayne100821
Alcorn98712
George97918
Covington97026
Marion94642
Tippah88922
Newton85627
Chickasaw84026
Tallahatchie84025
Winston83321
Hancock81628
Tishomingo80041
Attala79026
Clarke74351
Clay68421
Jasper67917
Walthall63827
Calhoun62212
Noxubee59617
Smith59116
Montgomery54323
Claiborne53716
Tunica52917
Yalobusha52614
Lawrence51214
Perry48723
Carroll48012
Greene47318
Stone46414
Humphreys42816
Amite42113
Quitman4196
Jefferson Davis40511
Webster37013
Wilkinson33720
Benton3335
Kemper32215
Sharkey28314
Jefferson27510
Franklin2403
Choctaw2056
Issaquena1074
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 155915

Reported Deaths: 2674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22988375
Mobile16788315
Tuscaloosa10235140
Montgomery9978197
Madison922894
Shelby727463
Baldwin661569
Lee651765
Marshall437249
Calhoun422461
Etowah421450
Morgan407135
Houston371734
DeKalb336029
Elmore317353
St. Clair289142
Limestone279730
Walker275593
Talladega263635
Cullman239925
Lauderdale218042
Jackson212515
Franklin203231
Autauga203030
Colbert198731
Russell19283
Blount191125
Dallas186327
Chilton185832
Coffee173211
Escambia172230
Covington171429
Dale166551
Chambers134343
Clarke133617
Pike132713
Tallapoosa131387
Marion107129
Barbour10129
Butler100240
Marengo100222
Winston91913
Geneva8617
Lawrence83732
Pickens83618
Bibb82514
Randolph82016
Hale75830
Clay73612
Washington73412
Cherokee73114
Lowndes70428
Monroe64510
Henry6436
Bullock63917
Crenshaw60330
Perry5856
Fayette56913
Wilcox56412
Conecuh56013
Cleburne5518
Macon53020
Lamar4745
Sumter47221
Choctaw39012
Greene34216
Coosa2033
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