By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Republican gubernatorial candidate Tommy Battle, the mayor of Huntsville, officially qualified Thursday for the Republican primary.
Battle signed the paperwork in a gathering with his family, friends and supporters in a packed restaurant in Hoover.
“I’m running for governor because we’re in a battle for Alabama’s future, and I’m ready to lead us in a new direction,” Battle said. “While the ship of state may be settled, it is time to move it forward. Alabama has been stagnant for far too long, and I’m ready to get us moving forward.”
Huntsville is one of the few fast-growing major cities in the state. Last week, Tommy Battle and Gov. Kay Ivey announced 4,000 new jobs after Toyota and Mazda announced North Alabama as the location of their new 1.6 billion dollar manufacturing facility.
Battle was elected Huntsville’s mayor nine years ago. Battle said that in that time, he’s helped recruit and create more than 25,000 jobs. Every day, 13 new people are moving to the Huntsville metro area. That job growth has also helped generate more than 4.1 billion dollars in economic investment for North Alabama. Battle said that he wants to bring that same successful plan to the rest of the state.
“We’ve had a lot of success because our plan works,” Battle said. “We’re ready to take that plan to Montgomery and work on behalf of all of Alabama’s 67 counties.”
Battle grew up in Birmingham where he attended Berry High School and worked in his father’s restaurant, Britling’s Cafeteria.
Battle called his father, “My hero. He’s somebody who taught you if you talk the talk, you walk the walk.”
Battle has been the mayor of Huntsville for nine years. Under his leadership, a number of high-profiled companies have located in the area, including the Remington Arms Company and Polaris alongside the booming aerospace and defense sectors there, before the epic Mazda-Toyota announcement. As recently as 2009, there was over a 50,000 person gap between Huntsville and Alabama’s largest city: Birmingham. It now appears inevitable that Huntsville will easily surpass Birmingham as the state’s largest municipality in the next decade. As of 2016, Birmingham had 212,157 residents and Huntsville had 193,079 residents – up almost 25,000 people in just ten years.
At this point, the qualified Republican candidates are Gov. Kay Ivey, Tommy Battle and Michael McAllister. Evangelist Scott Dawson and State Sen. Bill Hightower, R-Mobile, have announced their candidacies for governor but have yet to formally qualify.
The major party primaries are on June 5, 2018.