Though votes are still being counted, but it appears the gubernatorial face-off in November’s general election is set.
Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, will face Democratic challenger Walt Maddox, mayor of Tuscaloosa, after both secured enough votes in their respective party primaries to avoid runoff elections.
With 66 of 67 counties reporting, Maddox secured 53 percent of the total ballots cast. His closest competitor in the Democratic primary, former Alabama Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb, recorded just under 30 percent.
With nearly 308,00 votes, Ivey appears to have claimed 57 percent of the votes cast in the GOP primary — a clear victory over her opponents. Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle had collected only 25 percent of the vote as Ivey was giving her victory speech.
“Tonight’s results show that Alabama is working again and that we are on the right track,” Ivey told a crowd of supporters. “In the next four years, I’m going to keep fighting to bring good-paying jobs to our great state and get our children the education they need and deserve.”
She also touched on some other aspects of her campaign platform, which included improving Alabama’s roads, bridges and access to broadband internet services. She also made a small nod to the sordid sex scandal that led to her inheriting the seat vacated by former Gov. Robert Bentley.
“Above all, I’m going to keep fighting to maintain your trust,” she said. “I will not let you down.”
With a primary victory in hand, Ivey told supporters her focus had already turned to the general election Nov. 6. In a deep red state like Alabama, Ivey is favored in the contest. However, she still said her team would face “a great battle” with Maddox between now and the election.
“The liberals want this job bad,” she added. “They want it, but they’re not gonna get it.”
Meanwhile, in Tuscaloosa, Maddox and his supporters were celebrating a much closer victory in the Democratic primary.
His gubernatorial campaign has focused on issues like education, health care, criminal justice reform and expanding mental health care services in Alabama.
He told supporters Tuesday night, “Together, we’re going to regain our moral standing.”
“This was never about left versus right, this was about right versus wrong, and together we are the right side of history,” he said. “Together, we will pass the Alabama Education Lottery to fund Pre-K for thousands of families and a college scholarship program.”
Like Ivey, Maddox also touched on political scandals in recent years that, in many ways, have set the stage for Alabama’s statewide midterms. He said corruption had “spread like a cancer” in the state — claiming a governor, chief justice of the supreme court and house speaker.
He also criticized Ivey, who refused to debate any of her primary candidates publicly, for not speaking out on the issues enough during her time as interim governor.
“While impotence and corruption has reigned in Montgomery, all we have heard is the sound of silence,” he said. “In the past few months while we’ve proposed real solutions, our opponent has countered with Rocky Mountain oysters and Confederate monuments.”
Maddox said “living in the times of old” won’t help save rural hospitals in Alabama, bring jobs to its underserved Black Belt region or improve the public school system. To cheers from supporters, Maddox said Alabama currently stands at “a crossroads of the past and future.”
“Our fate will be determined by how we answer this question. Do we leave the next generation a better world than the one we inherited?” he said. “I choose the future.”