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Tommy Battle releases medical information as pressure mounts for Gov. Ivey to do the same

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, who is running against Gov. Kay Ivey for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, released a letter from his doctor last week that said he is in a state of good health.

The statement from Battle’s physician comes as other gubernatorial candidates have promised to release theirs, placing mounting pressure on Gov. Kay Ivey, who is seeking her first full term as governor, to release hers.

Battle, who is 62, has been considered the leading challenger to Ivey, now 73, who is the oldest candidate in the race.

Battle’s doctor, Dr. Jeffrey G. Garber, has been Battle’s physician for nearly two decades, his campaign said. Garber’s letter said that Battle’s health was very good and that there is no physical evidence of any underlying medical conditions. His last physical examination was in September 2017.

“Mr. Battle’s general medical condition is very good,” Garber said in a statement. “His only regular medications are for seasonal allergies. There is no physical evidence of underlying medical illness. There is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Battle’s health will enable him to perform the duties of Governor of the state of Alabama.”

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

The Huntsville Republican’s campaign reiterated that they believe there is no doubt that Battle’s health will enable him to perform the duties required of the governor.

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“Battle believes it is important that the people of Alabama have faith and confidence in the health of their governor,” his campaign said in a statement. “That’s why he’s being transparent about his fitness to lead.”

Battle’s campaign did not release copies of any medical test results.

Ivey last week brushed aside questions about whether she would release her medical records after other gubernatorial candidates in both parties said earlier in the week that they would release theirs.

Her campaign has not responded to a request for comment, and Ivey has not said if she would release her medical records.

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

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.

Birmingham evangelist Scott Dawson, 50, plans to release his medical records when his doctor returns from a vacation, his campaign said.

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“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.

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

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.

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

While none of the candidates have publicly or directly addressed it, Ivey’s health has been a topic of conversation since she assumed the office after former Gov. Robert Bentley resigned amid a spiraling sex scandal last year.

Ivey, in May 2017, pushed back against a report from the Alabama Political Reporter, that she suffered from stroke-like attacks during a trip to Colorado in 2015 that left her confused and disoriented.

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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.”

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.


Chip Brownlee is a former political reporter, online content manager and webmaster at the Alabama Political Reporter. He is now a reporter at The Trace, a non-profit newsroom covering guns in America.

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