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GOP Alabama governor side-steps debate with Democratic foe

Kay Ivey

Republican Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Friday dismissed a challenge to debate Democratic Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox ahead of the gubernatorial election, saying only reporters and her opponent care about debates.

Posted: Jul 27, 2018 4:41 PM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Republican Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Friday dismissed a challenge to debate Democratic Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox ahead of the gubernatorial election, saying only reporters and her opponent care about debates.

"There are only two people that ever bring up the subject. Y'all in the media and my opponent," Ivey said in response to a question about it.

Ivey, who automatically became governor last year when then-Gov. Robert Bentley resigned in the fallout of a scandal, faces Maddox in the November election.

The Tuscaloosa mayor, who is running on a platform of establishing a state lottery to fund education programs, challenged Ivey this week to a series of four debates.

Asked twice if she would be willing to debate Maddox, Ivey repeated a statement from her campaign that Maddox should instead debate "himself" because he had been inconsistent on issues such as abortion.

"When he finishes debating himself we can talk," Ivey said.

Speaking to reporters after a Friday speech in Montgomery, Ivey said she believes the people of Alabama support her agenda. She cited a poll that showed her to be the third most popular governor in the nation.

"While Kay Ivey has been in hiding, Walt Maddox has been looking the people of Alabama in the eye and answering all their questions for over a year and has consistently explained and placed his views in writing. If Kay Ivey disagrees with Walt, she should agree to debate him — It is that simple," Chip Hill, a spokesman for the Maddox campaign wrote in an emailed statement. Hill said Maddox has been consistent on his positions.

While it has been 20 years since Alabama elected a Democratic governor, Democrats are attempting a comeback, hoping to build on momentum from last year's election of U.S. Sen. Doug Jones.

Incumbent governors perceived as front runners sometimes avoid debates with challengers under the theory they have nothing to gain, but might be wounded in a public verbal sparring.

Ivey did not debate her opponents in the GOP primary. She easily won the primary.

In 2014, Bentley refused to debate his Democratic challenger Parker Griffith. Griffith responded by erecting a giant inflatable duck in downtown Montgomery to jab Bentley for "ducking" a debate with him. Griffith lost.

During the GOP primary, Ivey's Republican primary challengers argued that unlike elected incumbents Ivey has never been vetted for the position of governor.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 153270

Reported Deaths: 3807
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10332104
Hinds10190199
Harrison7244111
Jackson6521124
Rankin5805103
Lee523695
Madison4964107
Forrest388286
Jones367788
Lauderdale3575147
Lafayette334952
Washington3241108
Lamar296650
Oktibbeha251362
Lowndes243864
Bolivar242984
Panola229653
Neshoba2241118
Marshall221250
Leflore207791
Monroe203978
Pontotoc202929
Lincoln194865
Sunflower192555
Warren178757
Tate177051
Union171026
Copiah167040
Pike164758
Yazoo158840
Scott157930
Itawamba156135
Alcorn154828
Pearl River154168
Coahoma151943
Simpson151953
Prentiss149531
Adams144451
Grenada142845
Leake139444
Holmes132361
Tippah128030
Covington127939
George126425
Winston124526
Hancock123640
Wayne120623
Marion118646
Attala117534
Tishomingo110842
Chickasaw109032
Newton108029
Tallahatchie97727
Clay93427
Clarke93053
Jasper84822
Stone80015
Calhoun78113
Walthall77229
Montgomery75825
Carroll74015
Lawrence73414
Smith72816
Noxubee72517
Yalobusha72328
Perry68126
Tunica62319
Greene61222
Claiborne58916
Jefferson Davis58817
Amite55814
Humphreys54719
Benton49918
Quitman4977
Webster46414
Kemper44718
Wilkinson40422
Jefferson36411
Franklin3535
Choctaw3507
Sharkey32317
Issaquena1204
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 249524

Reported Deaths: 3578
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson33064500
Mobile19951362
Madison13596148
Tuscaloosa13246154
Montgomery12435236
Shelby1061677
Baldwin889098
Lee781466
Morgan686150
Etowah643966
Calhoun6430121
Marshall635355
Houston537738
DeKalb492236
Cullman451542
Limestone433345
St. Clair432555
Lauderdale422354
Elmore412964
Walker3710111
Talladega359354
Jackson329823
Colbert329642
Blount299740
Autauga278042
Franklin256434
Coffee248315
Dale236254
Chilton227438
Dallas226832
Russell22383
Covington220434
Escambia198931
Tallapoosa184391
Chambers177950
Pike159914
Clarke159819
Marion143636
Winston135123
Lawrence131636
Pickens125718
Geneva12438
Marengo123124
Bibb119617
Barbour117811
Butler117842
Randolph104921
Cherokee103424
Hale97831
Fayette92516
Washington92219
Clay92024
Henry8756
Lowndes80229
Monroe79011
Cleburne77814
Macon74522
Crenshaw72030
Bullock70219
Perry6906
Lamar6898
Conecuh68814
Wilcox64218
Sumter58622
Greene42818
Choctaw42713
Coosa3544
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