By Lee Hedgepeth
Alabama Political Reporter
SCOTTSBORO – Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor Stan Cooke has revealed that Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard urged him not to run against incumbent Kay Ivey in the June GOP primary at an event late last year.
The claim comes after Representative Barry Moore, R-Enterprise, was indicted for relaying similar sentiments on behalf of the Speaker to his primary opponent Joshua Pipkin, with an added threat of the elimination of a hundred local jobs if he would not drop from the race.
Cooke said that at a Republican function in Scottsboro, Hubbard discouraged his run after he introduced himself to the Speaker.
“He just said he wished I wasn’t running against her,” Cooke said.
Representative Hubbard, R-Auburn, has said that although he remembers the GOP venue in Scottsboro, he does not recall a conversation with Cooke or a conversation about Ivey’s race.
But, Cooke does remember the pressured chat.
“He said we have an agreement among Republicans that we don’t run against incumbents,” Cooke said of the encounter.
“I wouldn’t get involved in a race against Kay because I think she’s done a good job and I don’t think she deserves to be defeated,” Hubbard told Alabama Media Group regarding the matter.
“But I’m not involved in that race and there’s nothing I said about ‘I’ll do anything if you run.’”
Ironically, Hubbard did tell John Archibald, speaking of the Moore-Pipkin phone conversation and the allegation surrounding it, “You say all kinds of stuff to get people not to run against you.”
Hubbard has denied any wrongdoing in the matter, maintaining that all attacks against him are “politically motivated” moves by “special interests in Montgomery.”
“The electoral process in Alabama, and all jurisdictions, is a bedrock of government that requires a fair, free, and full exercise of the elective franchise,” a motion to dismiss the charges against Representative Barry Moore says.
“[Pipkin] conducted an illegal wiretap for the express purpose of achieving interference with fairness and freedom from undue and improper influence in the electoral process in Coffee County.”
In the motion, however, there is no mention of Hubbard’s clear “interference with… the electoral process in Coffee County” through discouraging candidates from running.
Stan Cooke will face Kay Ivey in the June 3 Republican Primary election for Lieutenant Governor; the winner will face Democrat James Fields in November.