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Ivey brushes aside questions about her health records as opponents plan to release theirs

Chip Brownlee

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Gov. Kay Ivey on Thursday brushed aside questions about whether she would release her medical records after other gubernatorial candidates in both parties said this week that they would release theirs.

Ivey, who is 73 years old and the oldest candidate in the gubernatorial race, wouldn’t say whether she plans to release her medical records.

Her campaign did not respond to a request for comment ahead of publication.

GOP State Sen. Bill Hightower, who is challenging Ivey for the Republican nomination for governor, released his medical records last week and called on all other gubernatorial candidates to follow his lead.

Hightower releases medical records, calls on all gubernatorial candidates to do the same

Hightower’s physician, Dr. Gamil S. Dawood, said in a letter that Hightower, 58, was in a state of “excellent physical health.” He also released documents that included results from a routine colonoscopy, a cardiac calcium scan, a heart stress test and a blood panel.

“While under my care Mr. Hightower has undergone a number of tests resulting in acceptable/normal ranges,” Dawood said. “These tests did not indicate or raise any concerns about Mr. Hightower’s health.”

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Ivey questioned why her opponents would release their medical records.

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“I find it interesting that candidate Hightower has run for Senate twice, he’s run for this — this is the third time (he’s run a campaign for public office),” Ivey said, according to AL.com. “His wife has run for a term. And he also sought the nomination for U.S. Senate. And this is the first time he’s ever mentioned healthcare records.”

Ivey’s comments come as other candidates in the GOP race — including Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, 62; Birmingham evangelist Scott Dawson, 50 — said this week that they will release their records or a letter from their physicians, too.

“Mayor Tommy Battle believes that it is important that the people of Alabama have faith and confidence in the health of their governor and therefore has requested a statement from his personal physician confirming he is in fact healthy and fit to lead the great state of Alabama,” said Scott Shamburger, Battle’s campaign manager.

While none of the candidates have publicly or directly questioned Ivey’s health, Hightower said that all of the candidates in the race should release their medical records.

Ivey last year pushed back against a report from the Alabama Political Political that she suffered from stroke-like attacks during a trip to Colorado in 2015 that left her confused and disoriented.

Numerous sources told APR at the time that staff in her office tried to cover up the four-day hospitalization during the then-lieutenant governor’s out-of-state trip to the Aerospace States Association conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Ivey’s security detail was told not to speak of the health problems to anyone, the sources said.

Ivey said later that she was healthy.

“My health is fine. I’ve never felt better,” Ivey said last may. “What’s the old saying? There’s never a step too high for a high stepper.”

Gov. Kay Ivey promises she’s healthy: “I’ve never felt better”

Ivey’s staff at the time also denied reports that she was recently been in poor health. They confirmed the hospital stay but said the issue was lightheadedness that was the result of altitude sickness.

“Many born and bred southerners like Governor Ivey are affected by altitude when visiting Colorado,” Ivey’s press secretary at the time, Eileen Jones, said.

Governor’s Office says 2015 hospitalization was the result of altitude sickness

The sharing of medical records is not abnormal in high-profile political races. Presidential candidates often share their medical records, and the press is typically briefed on the president’s medical condition. The practice is also more common in gubernatorial races in other states.

“The job of Governor is a physically demanding role and there is much work to do,” Hightower said. “It is critical that our next Governor has the stamina to meet the needs of the people of this state, and I urge my fellow candidates to join me in providing the voters with the information necessary for them to make a decision this June.”

Dawson’s campaign said that he will release his medical records soon after his doctor returns from a vacation.

“Unlike the interim governor, Scott Dawson is campaigning across the state every day,” said Hannah Ford, Dawson’s spokesperson. “He is in good health and is awaiting medical records from his physician who is out of the office. They will be released as soon as they are received.”

Democratic candidate and former Alabama Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb, 62, told Huntsville television station WHNT that she is in good health and plans to release her records.

The spokesperson for Democratic candidate and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox, 45, did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.

 

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