Ending weeks of speculation, Sen. Billy Beasley, D-Clayton, announced Thursday morning he would not run for governor.
In a sometimes emotional press conference, Beasley, a pharmacist by trade, said he would seek re-election to the Senate, citing what he said was an obligation to the voters of his district. The senator also said he would continue to push for Medicaid expansion in the Senate, saying it would provide jobs in every county in the state.
Any challenger to Gov. Robert Bentley faces a steep climb. The governor’s last campaign finance report showed he had $2.7 million on hand. Beasley, whose last campaign finance report showed he had about about $148,000, said he felt he could draw wide support for a gubernatorial campaign, but acknowledged that fundraising played a role in his decision.
“It’s a big mountain to climb,” he said. “I know I’ve got what it takes, but you can’t do it unless you have contributions to do it. I didn’t want my friends to decide for me against someone else.”
Beasley also cited the travel of statewide campaign would require, saying it would take him away from his wife. The senator said he made his decision around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Beasley served for 11 years in the Alabama House of Representatives before being elected to the Senate in 2010. He is the brother of former Lt. Gov. Jere Beasley, one of the founding partners of Montgomery’s Beasley Allen law firm.
Kevin Bass, a former minor league baseball player who lives in Fayette, is currently the only Democrat running for governor. In his last campaign finance report, Bass reported giving himself $3,000 and reported spending $2,418 on himself for administrative expenses, leaving $581 in his campaign account.
Relatively few Democrats are running for statewide office. Former Rep. James Fields, D-Cullman, is running for lieutenant governor against Republican incumbent Kay Ivey, while Miranda Joseph of Birmingham is seeking the office of State Auditor. Beasley said at the press conference that he hoped to see more Democrats running at the state level.
“Every person running for office at the statewide level needs to have opposition,” he said.
– posted by Brian Lyman