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Gov. Kay Ivey had a dominant performance in last Tuesday's Republican gubernatorial primary, sweeping all 67 counties and earning 54.5% of the vote in a crowded field to avoid a runoff election.
Because of the recent history of Alabama's tendency to vote for Republicans in statewide elections and that it is a midterm election that the GOP is anticipated to do well in nationally, Ivey is expected to defeat the ultimate Democrat nominee, Yolanda Flowers or State Sen. Malika Sanders-Fortier (D-Selma). The Democratic candidate will be determined in the June 21 Democratic gubernatorial runoff.
Headed into 2023, might Ivey consider her reelection to be a mandate from the voters to pursue an agenda with an approach similar to her previous four years in office? Aside from the 2019 Rebuild Alabama Act, Ivey has sometimes taken a go-it-alone approach without the Alabama Legislature, including on COVID-19 relief CARES Act spending in 2020, a failed lease-build prison construction plan, and infrastructure projects, including the West Alabama Corridor.
Some have speculated Ivey could expand Medicaid roles in Alabama, pushing the state to finally embrace the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. Medicaid expansion was once resisted by Ivey's predecessor, former Gov. Robert Bentley. However, as of late, Bentley has encouraged Ivey to accept the ACA and expand Medicaid.
State Sen. Chris Elliott (R-Josephine) says the opposite and argued against Ivey expanding Medicaid.
During an appearance on Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5's "The Jeff Poor Show," the Baldwin County Republican lawmaker downplayed the possibility of the legislature going along with Medicaid expansion plans and urged Ivey to pursue "bold initiatives."
"We set the budget, and I think we have a lot of say in that," Elliott said. "I just don't think this legislature is expanding Medicaid. You know, we've got the same senators we had before with some new folks. All the incumbents are back in. I'm still pulling for my buddy Tom Whatley up in Auburn. We'll see how that works out. But I don't see a marked change and desire to expand Medicaid.
"I don't think that ought to be a policy goal of this governor," Elliott continued. "I'm looking for bold initiatives in the chief executive and, you know, I would hope to see some of that leadership. It is yet to be seen."
To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email jeff.poor@1819News.com.
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