Bill Johnson, who for the past four years has served as Director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, has declared his candidacy for Governor. Holding this most important position with the Riley Administration put Bill in contact with lots of politically-active Alabama citizens. In my opinion, that has to be a positive for the candidate. In making his intentions known, Bill had this to say:
I think I have demonstrated over my years in public service that I am a passionate conservative Republican who believes small government is best and in low taxes. But I also feel government has a role and responsibility to help those citizens who cannot help themselves.
This entry makes a half-dozen seeking the Republican Party nomination for Governor in next June’s primary. Bill, who now lives in Prattville, was encouraged to run by a host of folks across the state who apparently told him they hadn’t found a candidate to their liking among the other five Republicans. The former Riley confidant said that “every time another one of the other candidates would announce” he would get a “phone call from someone” encouraging him to get into the race.” After a number of such calls, Bill says he began strongly considering a bid and decided to get in the race. His former boss, Governor Riley, praised the work Bill has done at a most powerful state agency and had this to say:
Bill Johnson has done a great job at ADECA and I am truly grateful to him for his outstanding service to the people of Alabama.
Bill’s entry makes it a crowded GOP field. Bradley Byrne, Roy Moore, Dr. Robert Bentley, Kay Ivey, and Tim James are the other declared candidates. Of course, there may be more Republicans jumping in the race before the end of the year.
The only Democrats in the race thus far are Artur Davis and Ron Sparks, and I believe that pretty much completes the field insofar as serious candidates are concerned. I doubt if any other serious candidates will get in on the Democratic side. I believe that Artur will be the Democratic nominee, but since I am serving as his campaign chairman, I don’t pretend to be objective in the race. Nevertheless, all of the polls that have been run so far indicate that outcome. While Ron will work hard and run a “spirited” race, I don’t see him being a very strong candidate for Governor. I suspect some who supported him in the past for Agriculture Commissioner have already lined up with other candidates.
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