By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter
State Sen. Quinton Ross, D-Montgomery, is officially Alabama State University’s president, and state Rep. John Knight, D-Montgomery, is officially running for Ross’s vacated Senate seat.
Ross, who has served in the Alabama Senate for the past 15 years was named ASU’s 15th president two weeks ago and the university’s board of trustees approved his $300,000 contract on Friday. Before he could sign it, however, Ross had to officially resign from the Senate.
He did that at a press conference on Monday.
“The community that I love wrapped its arms around me for the past 15 years,” Ross said. “Today, I’m choosing the road less traveled, choosing to become the 15th president of Alabama State University. My beloved university is 150 years old. And we will be looking to lay the groundwork for the next 150.”
Shortly after his press conference, Ross traveled to ASU and made it official, signing a three-year contract with the school.
Even before that signing, his potential replacements were jockeying for position.
The line will start in behind Knight.
The 72-year-old Montgomery Democrat has served in the House for more than 24 years, and like Ross, Knight enjoys fairly widespread bipartisan support.
“I feel like with my experience already, I can do some good there,” Knight said.
For now, Knight is officially running unopposed. But that is expected to change.
Sources have said former Montgomery City Councilman C.C. Calhoun plans to enter the race. Also, a source said former U.S. Rep. Artur Davis has hinted at running, but has cooled to the idea of late.
Ross reiterated again on Monday that he would not be endorsing a candidate.
“It would not be wise for me to do so, because whoever wins that seat, I will have to work with that person in my new capacity as ASU’s president,” Ross said.
Gov. Kay Ivey’s office announced that the primary to fill Ross’s seat will be Dec. 12 – the same day as the general election in the race to fill Alabama’s U.S. Senate seat. The general election for Ross’s old seat will be held May 15.