Friday, July 13 former Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead announced his endorsement of state Representative Will Ainsworth (R-Guntersville) for lieutenant governor in the July 17 Republican runoff election.
Armistead served as ALGOP chairman from 2011 to 2015 and held a seat in the Alabama State Senate from 1994 to 2002. Armistead said that endorsement was prompted by Ainsworth’s outsider status, his strong record of fighting tax increases, and the false and baseless attack campaign that his opponent has launched, among other factors.
“I had no intention of getting involved in this race until I saw the untruthful attacks on Will Ainsworth,” Armistead said. “I am sick of politicians running dirty campaigns and fabricating attacks against their opponents. The differences between Will Ainsworth and Twinkle Cavanaugh are as stark as night and day.”
“While Will Ainsworth has helped defeat more than a billion dollars in tax increases during his one term in the Alabama House, Twinkle was the head cheerleader for the billion dollar tax increase known as Amendment One,” Armistead continued. “While Will Ainsworth built three successful businesses, created jobs, and signed the front of paychecks, Twinkle spent decades running for political offices, living off the checks of Alabama taxpayers, and working as a lobbyist with the D.C. establishment and Montgomery insiders. While Will Ainsworth has worked to reform state government, impose term limits, and fundamentally change the way Montgomery operates, Twinkle has devoted her career to helping create the swamp that has bred corruption. And, perhaps most importantly, Will Ainsworth has offered a solid, well-thought, and issue-based plan for the future of Alabama while Twinkle has based her campaign on false and misleading ads that are built on half-truths, innuendo, and fiction.”
“It’s rare when voters have the chance to elect a true citizen-servant who represents a fresh, new generation of conservative Republican leaders,” Armistead added. “I know I will be marking my ballot for Will Ainsworth in the July 17 runoff election, and I encourage all true Christian conservative Republicans to join me in voting for him, as well.”
The endorsement by Armistead exposes a long-standing rift in the leadership of the Alabama Republican Party. Cavanaugh was the first woman to chair the Alabama Republican Party. Former state Representative Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) followed Cavanaugh and preceded Armistead. She is a former co-Chief of Staff for former Governor Bob Riley (R). Some in the party at the time thought that Riley and Hubbard wielded too much power in the party. That conservative faction supported Armistead over the Riley-Hubbard supported candidate, former state Representative Jay Love (R-Prattville).
The primary runoffs will be on Tuesday, July 17.
Alabama currently has no lieutenant governor; because in April 2017 then Gov. Robert Bentley (R) resigned to avoid impeachment and possible prosecution. Then Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey (R) was then elevated to Governor, leaving her old office vacant.
The winner of the Republican runoff will face Muscle Shoals area pastor Dr. Will Boyd (D) in the November 6 general election.