On May 24, Republican voters chose Dr. Jimmy Blake to serve on the Jefferson County GOP executive committee. But it didn’t take long before Blake stepped down from the role to run for governor as the Libertarian candidate.
For Blake, running as a Republican has at times been a necessity, but he says he has been a Libertarian since the beginning.
“When I was elected to the Birmingham City Council, I was chairman of the Libertarian Party,” Blake said. “I got involved with the Republican party to help defeat a tax in Jefferson County where they wanted to add a 1 percent sales tax to build a stadium.”
The chances for Blake to defeat incumbent Republican Kay Ivey are slim to none, but that’s not necessarily the target for Blake.
“It’s extremely difficult to stay on the ballot in Alabama,” Blake said. “We have by far the most difficult barriers to ballot access of any state in the country.”
The party will need to secure 20 percent of the vote to secure access for the next election. Libertarians spent the past two years petitioning to reach the 51,000 citizens needed to get statewide ballot access.
Blake said Libertarians are, in many cases, the only reason there is a general election race to speak of in certain areas.
“We have 60-something candidates on the ballot and 50 of those candidates do not have opposition from both sides,” Blake said. “But for libertarians, there would be no general election. Republicans and Democrats have split up the state; it’s ‘you get this House district, we get this one.’ So many of them, if not for Libertarians being on the ballot, there would be no option to vote.”
Blake took particular issue with the Republican Party’s recent recommendation to close the primaries.
“They can pick anyway they want to, but they shouldn’t have Alabamians pay for that process,” Blake said. “It’s an outrage … The public paid not one dime for Libertarians to put 60-plus candidates on the ballot, I wish people would come to realize the one thing Democrats and Republicans agree on is they don’t want is any competition.”
Like many other Libertarian candidates, Blake pitched the party as the true small government conservatives, while referring to Republican candidates including Ivey and Britt as “big government globalists.”
“We’ve increased spending by 35 percent since 2019,” Blake said. “Spending in Alabama has gone up more than government spending in New York or California. Is that what the people of Alabama want? I beg to differ.”
Blake said he is tired of “squishy Republicans” in the state who talk about limited government but don’t act.
Some of the top issues for Blake if elected would be tax relief, including eliminating the tax on groceries, and easing the “regulatory environment” in the state.
“Upward mobility is limited by the obstacles the state government is throwing in the way of people,” Blake said. “The best way we can help them is to get the regulations out of the way.”
He also signaled his support of school choice, although he said he isn’t familiar with the specifics of a bill sponsored by Rep. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, in the last session.
“We’ve got to bring market forces to bear in education,” Blake said. “The two issues that the government is most involved in, healthcare and schools, are the two areas where prices are out of control.”
The General Election is Nov. 8.