For decades, the portraits of Alabama Govs. Lurleen Wallace and George Wallace hung in the Capitol rotunda. During the eventful second term of former Gov. Robert Bentley, that policy was changed, arguably by the Alabama Historical Commission, and the portraits in the rotunda became the most current governors, then Bentley and Bob Riley.
State Auditor Jim Zeigler loudly objected to this change in 2015 and released a statement on Tuesday stating that he has not changed his position.
“Today is the 51st anniversary of the death in office of Gov. Lurleen Wallace, May 7, 1968,” Zeigler wrote. “I have never ceased my efforts to get the Alabama Historical Commission to restore Gov. Lurleen’s portrait to its rightful place in the capitol rotunda. (334) 242-3184. Do you see that portrait in the background? That is where Gov. Lurleen Wallace’s portrait is supposed to be — legally and historically.”
Zeigler is serving in his second term as state Auditor. He previously served as Public Service Commissioner. He has formed an exploratory campaign for running for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Doug Jones (D). Zeigler is a retired eldercare attorney, a graduate of the University of Alabama where he was class President, resides in Mobile, grew up in Sylacauga, and is married to Alabama State School Board member Jackie Zeigler (R).
Wallace could not run for re-election because, at that time, it was against state law for a governor to have back to back terms. Lurleen Wallace, his wife, ran in his place. Lurleen Wallace was elected in 1966. She got breast cancer and died in office in 1968. Lurleen Wallace was the first woman to be elected governor in state history, Gov. Kay Ivey is the second.
George Wallace was elected again in 1970, 1974 and 1982.