By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
The race to become Alabama’s 54th Governor will present a crowded field of candidates, but the first out-of-the-pack would appear to be the current President of the Public Service Commission (PSC) Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh, who filed with the Secretary of State on March 1 of this year.
Cavanaugh, a conservative stalwart since the 1990s, will likely face a daunting array of male challengers in a State with only one female serving as a constitutional officer (Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey is the only woman holding a statewide office).
In a phone conversation with The Alabama Political Reporter, Cavanaugh said she was doing her due diligence as required by State law but was not ready to announce her candidacy at this time. Alabama State law does not have an option for a potential gubernatorial candidate to form an exploratory committee.
Depending on where Fortune’s Wheel lands for Gov. Bentley after the Ethics Commission’s meeting on April 5, Ivey could find herself as the 54th Governor of Alabama. She would be the only female to hold that post since Lurleen B. Wallace was elected the 46th Governor. She served for fifteen months, from January 1967 until her death in May 1968.
Over the last few months, statewide polling shows Chief Justice Roy Moore to be the leading contender with Cavanaugh following in second place. Moore regained his seat on the bench when elected again as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court (November 6, 2012) winning 51.8 percent of the vote over Robert S. Vance. He won the Republican primary on March 13, of that year, receiving 50 percent of the vote.
Moore’s suspension from the bench for the remainder of his term, stemming from an ethics complaint issued by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), has done nothing to tarnish his reputation among rank and file conservatives.
While Cavanaugh trails Moore by a significant margin, she is edging out the other contenders by an even greater number.
The Goat Hill chattering class, believe others are soon to enter the fray. Agriculture and Industry Commissioner John McMillan, Secretary of State John Merrill, State Treasurer Young Boozer, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, and State Auditor Jim Zeigler.
For the moment, Cavanaugh is the only candidate to file officially with the Secretary of State.