Ivey explains campaign switch at Montevallo reception

A crowded race and the chance to bring the first same-party governor-lieutenant governor team to Montgomery were major factors in Kay Ivey’s recent campaign switch, she said in Montevallo April 1.

Ivey, who is currently the state treasurer, spoke to a group of supporters during a reception at Montevallo’s Blue Phrog Gallery April 1.

The reception came one day after Ivey, a Republican, announced she had dropped out of the Alabama governor race and instead qualified to run for lieutenant governor.

Ivey said the Republican field of gubernatorial candidates had become “crowded,” and said she was unwilling to make attacks on her party members.

“It got so crowded,” Ivey said of the seven other Republican gubernatorial candidates who qualified to run against her. “It’s two months until the (Republican primary) election, and all of us were sounding the same to most people.

“The only way to get out of that was to be negative,” Ivey said. “If I had to put someone else down to elevate my status, that’s not how I work. I’m not willing to play that game.”

Ivey will be running against state Sen. Hank Erwin, R-Montevallo, Daphne school teacher Gene Ponder and Gulf Shores realtor Dean Young in the June 1 lieutenant governor Republican primary.

The winner of the primary will face Democratic incumbent Jim Folsom Jr. in the November general election.

Ivey said she would like to see voters elect a governor and lieutenant governor from the same party for the first time in Alabama’s history.

“That would be a huge pair that’s never been done before,” Ivey said. “That is a team that could really bring some effective leadership.

“If I had been governor, Lieutenant Governor Folsom would not have let any effective legislation pass,” she added.

Ivey said, if elected, she would focus on bringing jobs to the state and bringing more money to the state’s higher education. She also said the state’s money crisis and voting district changes will be “huge issues” during the state’s 2011 legislative session.

“The Alabama Senate is not functional. It takes three sessions to get something done like the gambling issue,” Ivey said. “That is not the most pressing issue facing our state right now.

“The Senate needs an effective leader to break the logjams and get past the silly business,” she added. “The state of Alabama fiscally is in dire straights. It’s awfully bad now, but nobody is saying anything because it’s an election year.”