HENAGAR — Tuesday, House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) and State Sen. Steve Livingston (R-Scottsboro) hosted their annual Fourth of July breakfast with a guest list that featured a who's who in state politics in North Alabama.

In addition to Livingston and Ledbetter, other legislators on hand included State Reps. Phillip Rigsby (R-Huntsville), Ginny Shaver (R-Leesburg), Rex Reynolds (R-Huntsville) and Andy Whitt (R-Harvest). Former House Speaker Mac McCutcheon, Secretary of State Wes Allen and longtime political consultant Steve Raby were also notable political guests.

However, Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth's appearance may have been the most newsworthy Tuesday in front of the 200-plus crowd in attendance at the Henagar Community Center for the annual event alongside the Henagar Potato Festival.

After delivering his remarks, Ledbetter announced he was endorsing Ainsworth for governor.

"Will, of course, is one of our closest friends," he said. "He and I went to the House together at the same time. I know it is a long time off, but I am going to publicly endorse Will Ainsworth for governor."

Ainsworth is not a formally declared candidate for the election set to take place in 2026. However, Ainsworth is widely considered the prohibitive favorite at this point before the 2026 election to replace Gov. Kay Ivey, who is term-limited.

Ainsworth has used the lieutenant governor role as an outspoken advocate for school choice and the widening of Interstate 65 from four to six lanes from one end of the state to another. During the legislative session, he was also instrumental in pushing the partial repeal of Alabama's grocery tax earlier this year.

Jeff Poor is the editor in chief of 1819 News and host of "The Jeff Poor Show," heard Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon on Mobile's FM Talk 106.5. To connect or comment, email jeff.poor@1819News.com or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.

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