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By Terry Schrimscher
Greenville businessman Tim James lost his bid for the Republican nomination for Governor tonight, finishing third behind Gov. Kay Ivey and Lindy Blanchard.
Ivey declared victory in the campaign a little after 10 p.m. After watching returns with the crowd at Dreamland BBQ in Montgomery, James met with his staff and returned to take the stage at 10:30 p.m.
“I called the Governor about 10 minutes ago and wished her the very best,” said James. “I wish the very best for her and this administration. Godspeed to her, and we should pray for her and every decision that she makes going forward. That’s what this is all about. This what America’s about.”
James, son of former two-term Governor Fob James, qualified for the race in January, sitting down with 1819 News before the announcement to discuss his vision for Alabama.
In March, a poll conducted for 1819 News showed Ivey with a commanding lead in the race, winning 57% of voters in the poll. That poll showed James in second with 16%. Although Ivey’s final numbers track closely with the poll, James and Lindy Blanchard, former Ambassador to Slovenia, flipped positions with Blanchard coming in a distant second to Ivey and James finishing third.
While waiting for polls to close, James sat down with 1819 News at the Marriott across the street from his campaign watch party at Dreamland BBQ. He commented on his hopes for the campaign, his plans for Alabama and even on the state of national politics.
James appeared optimistic for the campaign but indicated his hopes were leaning toward a runoff with Ivey and expressed concern with reports of low voter turnout.
“It’s unusual there’s so many undecided when you have an incumbent,” James said. “I think that is probably a sign the incumbent is probably vulnerable to some degree.”
In the end, Ivey’s campaign tracked closely to the 1819 News poll from March despite other recent polls showing her in the high 40% range.
James offered some thoughts about the national economy and what the governor can do to combat the declining economy.
“Sooner or later, the music’s gonna stop,” James said. “The federal government’s been pumping this kind of money into the system. This is money they don’t have. It’s borrowed.”
He said he would pause the fuel tax temporarily and call a special session to eliminate the sales tax on groceries, and he would give back the state’s budget surplus.
“It’s their money. It’s not Kay Ivey’s money. It’s not the legislature’s money. It’s the people’s money,” James said.
Although he said the candidates from both parties were very civil to each other on the campaign trail, he said the tone of national politics has gotten worse in recent years.
“Everybody’s mad at everybody,” he said. “You can disagree. You can disagree seriously without letting it get to the point that it eats at you.”
Speaking earlier in the evening, as polls were closing, James said, “If we win the election, we win the election.” He said he and his supporters were winners regardless of the outcome because they were obedient to God’s calling for the campaign.
As the crowd began to disperse, James again spoke to 1819 News to wish Ivey the best for the next administration.
“I did call the Governor and wish her the very best, and anything I can ever do to be helpful, I will,” James said. “I want her to be successful, and I want this state to grow. She’s there for four more years. We should encourage her and pray for her and do the right thing.”
Although the crowd began to thin earlier in the evening, many campaign faithfuls remained, clinging to hopes of a runoff and staying around to support their candidate late into the evening. Several supporters were vocally disappointed at the low voter turnout and some expressed hope to see James remain active in state politics.
James previously ran for governor in 2002 and 2010, losing the 2010 campaign by a very slim margin. When asked about his plans for the future, he indicated that he might hang up his political ambitions and focus on his business after this campaign.
To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email terry.schrimscher@1819News.com.
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