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.

Confirmed Cases: 15229

Reported Deaths: 723
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds99925
Lauderdale73561
Madison72023
Scott65012
Neshoba63038
Jones59825
Forrest55338
DeSoto5337
Rankin4217
Leake42112
Holmes39728
Copiah3104
Jackson30513
Attala29216
Yazoo2734
Newton2714
Leflore25831
Harrison2577
Lincoln25628
Monroe25525
Lamar2355
Oktibbeha23512
Lowndes2119
Pearl River20931
Pike20211
Adams19615
Noxubee1856
Wayne1771
Warren1719
Washington1687
Covington1652
Bolivar16011
Jasper1574
Smith15011
Lee1496
Kemper14411
Clarke14318
Chickasaw13312
Lafayette1314
Coahoma1214
Carroll11711
Marion1159
Clay1124
Winston1121
Claiborne1112
Lawrence1021
Simpson1010
Yalobusha905
Hancock9011
Tate891
Grenada893
Wilkinson889
Itawamba877
Union835
Marshall833
Montgomery831
Sunflower813
Jefferson Davis772
Tippah7311
Panola703
Webster691
Calhoun644
Humphreys607
Amite601
Walthall550
Tunica543
Prentiss523
Perry503
Choctaw432
Jefferson421
Tishomingo320
Pontotoc323
Stone300
Franklin282
Tallahatchie271
Quitman260
George251
Alcorn171
Benton150
Greene121
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 17359

Reported Deaths: 618
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2191115
Jefferson1780102
Montgomery163238
Tuscaloosa73814
Marshall6879
Franklin5457
Lee54033
Shelby50319
Tallapoosa42364
Butler40217
Chambers35325
Walker3442
Elmore3398
Madison3274
Baldwin2839
Dallas2603
Morgan2511
Etowah24811
DeKalb2433
Lowndes23812
Coffee2291
Sumter2206
Autauga2164
Houston2094
Bullock2034
Pike1980
Colbert1782
Russell1670
Marengo1636
Lauderdale1612
Hale1598
Calhoun1543
Choctaw1518
Barbour1501
Wilcox1447
Clarke1422
Cullman1260
Randolph1257
Marion12111
St. Clair1181
Pickens1114
Dale1100
Talladega1093
Chilton1001
Limestone940
Greene944
Winston880
Covington771
Jackson772
Crenshaw763
Macon754
Henry742
Bibb721
Washington686
Blount611
Escambia573
Lawrence480
Geneva400
Conecuh391
Coosa381
Monroe372
Perry370
Cherokee373
Clay272
Lamar230
Fayette150
Cleburne141
Unassigned00
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