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George to Challenge Bentley in GOP Primary
MONTGOMERY, Alabama: Former Morgan County commissioner Stacy Lee George announced on Thursday that he would challenge incumbent Govenror Robert Bentley in the Republican gubernatorial primary on June 4, 2014. George's announcement followed Bentley's Tuesday announcement that he would seek re-election. George is the first Republican to challenge Bentley. Top Alabama Republican such as Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey and Speaker Mike Hubbard of the state House of Representatives earlier declined to run for the state's highest office.
George made history in 2000 by becoming the first Republican elected to the Morgan County Commission. During his two terms as commissioner, the Republicans won control of the commission. George was known for his support of releasing public records, including emails. In his bid for a third term in 2008, George was defeated in the Republican primary by Greg Abercrombie. He served his final months in office as a Democrat because of his disagreements with the Morgan County Republican Party. George has worked as a state correctional officer since leaving office. In 2012, he ran for a Republican national convention delegate seat in as a supporter former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich. The Morgan County Republican Party's attempt to block him from running for delegate was overruled by the state GOP.
George told the media that the passage of the Alabama Accountability Act, which Bentley signed into law on March 14, had motviated him to take on the governor. George opposes the new law's creation of a voucher system allowing public funds to pay for private school tuition and has proposed establishing a state lottery to help fund public education. He frequently carries a pistol when off-duty and said, ""I want to be known as the gun-toting governor."
Bentley was elected governor in 2010. He emerged victorious from a seven-candidate GOP field, defeating attorney Bradley Byrne 56 to 44 percent in a election, and went on to beat Democratic nominee and Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Ron Sparks in the election.