By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter
Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle was featured in a campaign ad Wednesday that took on the recent issue of standing for the American flag.
“I believe our veterans have earned our respect and that our flag deserves to be honored,” Battle said in the ad. “I believe that if you appreciate our country’s freedoms then you stand for our country’s symbol.”
Battle made the comments in preparation for Veteran’s day next week, and he encouraged Huntsville residents to wear red, white and blue to celebrate the day.
The debate on standing for the flag was recently reignited after President Donald Trump’s visit to Alabama, where he called an NFL player who doesn’t stand for the national anthem a “son of a bitch.”
Trump’s comments sent a firestorm throughout the NFL as players and coaches knelt in protest around the country.
Since then, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has asked that players stand for the national anthem, but hasn’t required them to stand.
Battle threw his hat into the ring for governor earlier this year when it was not clear whether current Gov. Kay Ivey would run. Ivey announced her candidacy for governor in September.
Another prominent candidate Public Service Commission President Twinkle Cavanaugh switched to the lieutenant governor’s race after it became clear Ivey would run for a second term.
Battle and state Sen. Bill Hightower, R-Mobile, are the other Republican candidates running for the office.
Ivey’s approval rating has remained high—over 60 percentage points—since she took the office a little more than six months ago. This places Ivey in the top 5 governors by job approval rate.
The governor’s race primary is set for next summer with the general election in November 2018.