Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler, a Republican, said Wednesday that he has received a lot of encouragement to run for governor, he told APR, the same day that Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced that she would be running for re-election.
“I have had a lot of encouragement to form a gubernatorial campaign exploratory committee,” Zeigler said.
“That would be a bold undertaking,” Zeigler said. “I have been the leader of the taxpayer’s opposition throughout her term.”
Zeigler said that he had opposed the governor’s gas tax increase and had prepared his own plan in case the governor’s gas tax increase plan failed.
“I was the leader in blocking her plan to build a toll bridge over Mobile Bay,” Zeigler said. “We blocked that plan.”
“My wife and I were the leaders in opposing Amendment One,” Zeigler said. “It would have taken away the right of Alabama voters to vote for their own school board members. We won that with 75 percent of the vote.”
Zeigler added that he has “been one of the leaders in opposing” the governor’s plan to spend $3.5 billion dollars on building new private prisons.
“We have blocked that plan,” Zeigler said.
The deadline for finalizing the contracts on the three new megaprisons was June 1 and it has came and left without the Alabama Department of Corrections announcing that the contracts have been signed. On Wednesday, Ivey said that she is meeting with leaders of the state Legislature to discuss other options to the lease-build plan.
The Legislature would be needed to approve any new bond issue.
“It is ironic that she chose to launch her reelection campaign on the day of her biggest failure,” Ziegler said. “I have the platform to run, but I don’t have the financial resources to run. There are people who are working on a plan.”
Zeigler said that he will not know whether he will be able to run for governor for another month.
Zeigler is term-limited from running for another term as Alabama state auditor. His wife, School Board Member Jackie Zeigler, is reported to be contemplating a run for the open auditor’s position. Zeigler previously served on the Public Service Commission. He has run unsuccessfully for a number of offices before winning election as state auditor in 2014.
Currently, Ivey and Lee County Pastor and evangelist Dean Odle are the only announced candidates for governor. Other candidates are reportedly in the process of launching gubernatorial bids.
The Republican Primary will be held on May 24, 2022.