By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, September 20 new polling shows that Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) now has just 35 percent favorability rating, a significant drop since he acknowledged having, “An inappropriate relationship” with his much younger and married top political aide, “Mrs. Rebekah Caldwell Mason.”
The new polling was released in the latest edition of Morning Consult’s Governor Approval Rankings.
Gov. Bentley, even after spending 2015 pushing massive tax increases (a plan which was dead on arrival in the Alabama legislature) had maintained a one point net approval rating among state residents. After the alleged affair became public that dropped to a whopping 18-point deficit between voters who have a favorable view of him (35 percent) and those who have an unfavorable view (53 percent).
According to Morning consult before the scandal, from January through early May, his ratings were about even at 46 percent approval and 45 percent disapproval.
An investigative grand jury has reportedly been empaneled by the Attorney General’s Special Prosecutions unit to look at possible breaches of law that allegedly occurred in payments made to Mrs. Mason by the Bentley campaign as well as Bentley’s Foundation. The firing of Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) Secretary Spencer Collier and career ALEA officials is another area of possible interest. The U.S. Justice Department has appointed a special prosecutor to look at the Bentley scandal. The Alabama Ethics Commission is doing their own investigation and the Alabama House Judiciary Committee will meet later this month to discuss an impeachment resolution brought by 23 members of the House.
Vocal Bentley critic, state Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) is urging the committee to impeach Bentley now rather than waiting for all the other investigations to conclude. Zeigler said recently that, “A speedy investigation and trial is needed. If it takes as long to investigate Bentley as it did Mike Hubbard — over two years — Bentley’s term would be almost over.”
Zeigler said, ”The people of Alabama deserve to have the air cleared about the Bentley administration. They want and need impeachment sooner rather than later.”
The Governor for his part, acknowledges an “inappropriate relationship” (there is audiotape of what appears to be something illicit); but denies actual adultery. Mrs Bentley divorced the Governor in 2015. The Governor also denies doing anything illegal.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) has 68 percent disapproval and 29 percent approval over his role in promoting Donald Trump for President as well as the Bridgegate scandal.