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Riley Revelations Part Two, Sen. Gerald Dial: Loyal, but Competent?

By Lee Hedgepeth
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY – “Nobody’s smarter than the Governor,” then Riley policy director, now State Senator Bryan Taylor says in a tape recently obtained by the Alabama Political Reporter, referring to the Alabama’s former top executive, Dr. Bentley’s predecessor.

That claim permeated all of Taylor’s comments in the tape, with the Prattville Republican expounding on the intricacies of the Riley psyche.

“You just got to get in his head and know all this stuff is going on,” Taylor says.

The “stuff” he is referring to included, for example, Riley’s cautious relationship with State Senator Del Marsh, R-Anniston, of which he says the former Governor sometimes felt “stabbed in the back” on gambling.

APR covered that insight into the Riley administration here.

Another aspect of gubernatorial analysis Taylor – who is now purported to be angling for the recently vacated position of Director of the Alabama Ethics Commission – engages in is that of Riley’s relationship with State Senator Gerald Dial, one that seems to have been filled with behavioral, but not intellectual, trust and agreement.

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When prompted about Riley’s dynamic with Dial, Taylor makes it clear: it was about loyalty, loyalty, loyalty, and not a whole lot else.

“Gerald is loyal. In the Governor’s mind, Gerald is loyal,” Taylor says. The positive review, though, pretty much stopped there.

“I don’t know what level of competence or confidence the Governor assigns to Gerald,” Taylor says on the audio tape, which can be heard here, discouraging any use of Dial as a medium for legislative action. “[Governor Riley] just knows that Gerald’s a good loyal guy.”

Senator Dial, R-Lineville, is serving his ninth term in the Alabama Legislature, and is the GOP Senate Majority Whip. He is best known, from the last few legislative sessions, for his thus far unsuccessful bid to fund tablet computers over textbooks in schools statewide through a bond issue.

Having overcome a GOP primary challenge from Tim Sprayberry by only about 400 votes, Senator Dial will face Democrat Darrell Turner in the general election this November.

This article is the second in a series entitled Riley Revelations, focused on insights into the former Governor’s administration. The first featured Senator Del Marsh. Stay tuned to APR for more in the series.

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