By Brandon Moseley and Erica Thomas
Dr. James “Jimmy” Blake is the state Libertarian Party's gubernatorial nominee.
However, the long-time Birmingham political personality was also elected by Republican voters on May 24 to serve on the Jefferson County Republican Executive Committee.
Blake has been active in both the Libertarian and Republican Parties over the decades.
“I started off in the Libertarian Party, and I’ve been back and forth in the Republican Party if I thought I could effect more change,” said Blake.
Blake served two terms on the Birmingham City Council from 1993 to 2001 and previously served on the Jefferson County and state Republican executive committees.
But this time, Blake said he would step down from his Republican Party position and focus on his gubernatorial run.
“I’m confident that the Republicans have probably rejected me already if they’ve noticed,” Blake said.
It was a Republican who asked Blake to run for the GOP position in the first place.
“I was called by my friend Jim Zeigler to come to his campaign kickoff event,” Blake told 1819 News on Tuesday. “While I was there, I signed up to run for the executive committee.”
Earlier this month, the Libertarian Party of Alabama gained ballot access hours before the deadline by meeting the 80,000-signature requirement.
Blake, who perhaps has more name recognition than the Libertarian Party's other statewide nominees, was recruited by the Libertarian Party to fill one of the spots on the ballot if they could get ballot access.
“I’m confident that people are upset that the big government Republicans won so many of the primary positions. I expect there will be some people that will come over for the small government, which is us,” said Blake. “I think there will be some of that crossover.”
Blake said he isn’t worried about the letter by his name but about what he thinks the people of Alabama want to see in their government.
“I am interested in the principles involved, and what jersey somebody’s wearing really doesn’t matter to me,” said Blake. "[W]e need the Libertarian party, a true small government, conservative party, to keep the Republicans honest. The people of Alabama are very conservative and very supportive of small government but look at our legislature and our executive branch. We have dramatically increased spending in the state of Alabama during this last administration. We’ve increased taxes, whereas our surrounding states are cutting taxes. And we’re not going to be competitive if we continue down the road we’re on.”
For this election cycle, the Libertarian Party had to spend over $250,000 to get enough signatures of registered Alabama voters to get ballot access.
To keep ballot access in the 2024 election, one of the Libertarian Party’s statewide candidates must get a minimum of 20% of the votes in their race. Otherwise, the Libertarians will have to sink hundreds of thousands of dollars and hours into getting ballot access petitions signed again.
Blake, a physician, has a bachelor's degree from Auburn University and a medical degree from UAB. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran who flew with an F-4 fighter squadron based in the United Kingdom during the Cold War.
Blake faces incumbent Gov. Kay Ivey (R), Democrat Yolanda Flowers and Independent Jared Budlong in the November 8 general election.
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