February 27, 2018

Tommy Battle: Gov. Kay Ivey at ‘cocktail parties’ instead of work

What’s in a cocktail party?

To Alabama’s two top-funded Republican gubernatorial candidates, it’s two different things.

To Gov. Kay Ivey, it’s simply a part of doing her job as the state’s top executive.

To Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle – who raised the issue of Ivey attending cocktail parties in a campaign blog Monday — it’s a substitute for leaving the Montgomery bubble and interacting with voters across the state.

Either way, it’s a reminder for voters that the GOP primary on June 5 is just 98 days away.

In Battle’s blog, which he posts to provide occasional updates from his campaign, he discussed visiting Montgomery last week with members of the Huntsville-Madison County Chamber of Commerce. While in the capital, Battle said he also made a campaign stop 45 miles away in Greenville for a candidate forum.

Ivey did not attend the forum, Battle said in the blog post.

“However, while we were talking to regular people about the future of Alabama, Kay Ivey was going around to cocktail parties in Montgomery,” Battle’s blog post said. “There seems to be lots of receptions in Montgomery.”

Battle also recently touted that he had visited all 67 counties in the state on his campaign.

“Thanks to Kay Ivey’s leadership, Alabama is working again,” Ivey’s campaign said to AL.com in a statement responding to Battle’s blog. “Record low unemployment and 12,000 jobs and counting — including 4,000 news jobs from Toyota Mazda. That’s the Ivey way: while others are out talking on the campaign trail, she’s leading and getting results for real people.”

As for the reference to cocktail parties, Ivey’s campaign said, “Gov. Ivey attends many events to represent the state of Alabama as she governs and moves the state forward.”

The topic of whether Ivey or Battle will most benefit from the January announcement of the Toyota-Mazda plant to be built in Huntsville is expected to bubble to the surface along the campaign trail. Both candidates have made frequent mention of the state’s single largest economic development in efforts to attract supporters.

Among the four Republicans seeking the party’s nomination, Battle and Ivey have a significant fundraising advantage so far. Ivey has reported more than $2 million in her campaign war chest while Battle has $1.2 million. State Sen. Bill Hightower of Mobile has almost $632,000 in cash on hand while evangelist Scott Dawson has $343,000.

Ivey and Battle have also spent the most money so far.

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