By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, June 27, 2017, Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) filed a campaign committee Tuesday to begin raising money for the 2018 Governor’s race.
Auditor Zeigler said that he was required to file because he passed the $1,000 legal threshold that requires filing due to “unsolicited campaign donations.”
Zeigler said that he is “running an exploratory campaign for the Governor’s race and will make a final decision after the special election for US Senate.”
He says that he would run to stop, “waste, mismanagement and corruption in State government.”
“I have been blessed to do more than the other potential candidates despite my position of very little authority and staff, the State Auditor’s office. From the Governor’s office, I could stop business as usual in Montgomery.”
Zeigler was an outspoken critic of former Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R). Zeigler mounted several challenges to what he called “mismanagement and abuse by the Bentley administration,” including filing the Alabama Ethics Commission complaint that ultimately led to Bentley resigning rather than becoming the first Alabama Governor impeached.
Zeigler also filed a legal challenge to Bentley’s decision to set the delayed a special election for the US Senate vacancy to November 2018. Zeigler filed suit to force a special election “forthwith.” as is required by Alabama law. While Bentley refused to acknowledge that the law required a sooner election; after he left new Governor Kay Ivey (R) agreed with Zeigler’s legal interpretation and set the Special Election date for December 12, 2017. The Special Major Party Primaries are on August 15, Primary.
Zeigler has also sued to invalidate the troubled STAARS software contract, claiming it was an illegal no-bid contract. A Montgomery judge ruled that Zeigler has standing and can take the case to trial this Fall.
Over the last 30 months Zeigler has also objected to: Bentley’s very odd decision to cancel the traditional inaugural prayer service, the Bentley administration for removing the portraits of Governors George and Lurleen Wallace from the capitol rotunda; and Bentley’s unauthorized diversion of $1.8 million of BP settlement money to restore the governor’s mansion at the beach; all while still performing his duties as auditor despite three successive years of drastic cuts to his budget by Bentley and the Alabama Legislature.
Zeigler said, “Under adverse circumstances, I have continued to get things done for the taxpayers of Alabama. Just envision what I might be able to do with adequate staff and the authority of the Governor’s office. The idea of Governor Zeigler scares the Montgomery Insiders but excites the taxpaying public.”
Zeigler was elected State Auditor in 2014 and took office in January 2015. Zeigler formerly was Alabama Public Service Commissioner. He is an attorney with degrees from the University of Alabama.
Zeigler’s wife Jackie serves on the State Board of Education defeating a Bentley appointee in 2016. She is a former teacher, principal and school administrator. They have two children.
If Zeigler elects not to run for Governor then he could still run for a second term as Auditor.
The 2018 major party primaries will be on June 5, 2018.