By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter
Quinton Ross hasn’t officially left the Alabama Senate yet, but the hopefuls are already circling.
Ross was selected earlier this month as Alabama State University’s president. Barring something weird, he’ll take over on Oct. 2. ASU trustees are set to approve a contract for him at a Sept. 29 board meeting.
Ross said on Wednesday that he and trustees are working through the particulars of that contract now, and he feels like a deal is pretty close.
When Ross walks into ASU, he’ll walk away from a senate seat that he’s held for the past 15 years. (Even if ASU’s presidency could be managed on a part-time basis, state law prohibits state workers from holding two state jobs.)
That seat is coveted.
And already some big names in the world of Montgomery politics are lining up to take their shot.
According to a number of sources, the top names so far to express serious interest in the seat are: longtime Montgomery Rep. John Knight, former U.S. Rep. Artur Davis and former Montgomery City Councilman C.C. Calhoun.
Multiple sources said that if Knight wants the seat, he is virtually assured of getting it. That would then set off a scramble among many of the same people for Knight’s spot in the House.
Ross said he will respectfully steer clear of the race and won’t endorse a candidate.
“I don’t think it’s wise for me to remain involved in that, because as president at ASU I will want to work with the person who gets that seat,” Ross said. “I wouldn’t want to start that relationship off on a bad foot, and I’m hopeful that the candidates recognize that.”
“In addition, I’m not sure how much an endorsement matters, because I don’t think support is transferable. It’s something you earn over time.”
Ross has essentially started his work for ASU, spending most of the week in D.C. at the White House HBCU summit and at various conferences with HBCU and federal agency officials.