Robert J. Bentley

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Robert J. Bentley
Bentley r.jpeg
Governor of Alabama
In office
January 17, 2011 - Present
Term ends
January 19, 2015
Years in position 4
PredecessorBob Riley (R)
Base salary$119,950 (Refused compensation)
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 2, 2010
First electedNovember 2, 2010
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
Campaign $$8,149,986
Term limits2 terms
Prior offices
Alabama House of Representatives
High schoolShelby County High School (1960)
Bachelor'sUniversity of Alabama-Tuscaloosa (1964)
M.D.University of Alabama School of Medicine (1968)
Military service
Service/branchU.S. Air Force
Years of service1969-1975
Date of birthFebruary 3, 1943
Place of birthColumbiana, Alabama
ProfessionDermatologist (retired)
Office website
Personal website
Robert Julian Bentley (b. February 3, 1943, in Columbiana, Alabama) is the 53rd and current Governor of Alabama. Bentley, a Republican, took the oath of office on January 17, 2011. His first term ends January 19, 2015, and he is ran for re-election in November 2014.[1] Bentley defeated two challengers in the Republican primary election on June 3, 2014. The general election took place November 4, 2014.

Referred to as the "unexpected governor," Bentley, a retired dermatologist, has said, "Nobody but the Lord and my oldest granddaughter" expected the win. Bentley came in second to Bradley Byrne in the 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary, but went on to defeat him in the runoff.[2] He won the general election on November 2, 2010, overtaking then-Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Ron Sparks (D) by 17 points. Two days after he was inaugurated, Bentley stirred up controversy by telling a Baptist church audience that only those who had accepted Jesus Christ as their savior were his brothers and sisters. Bentley apologized for the remarks, saying he would be a "governor of all the people."[3]

During his campaign, Bentley promised not to accept a salary as governor until the state reached full employment, which he defined as 5.2 percent unemployment. As of July 2014, he has not accepted a salary.[4]

Bentley was previously a Republican member of the Alabama House of Representatives, representing the 63rd District, Tuscaloosa County. He was first elected in 2002 and served until 2010 when he chose not to seek re-election but the governorship instead.[5]

An analysis of Republican governors by Nate Silver of the New York Times in April 2013 ranked Bentley as the 16th most conservative governor in the country.[6]


Born and raised in Columbiana, Alabama, Bentley was active in debate during school and served as student body president in high school. He went on to study chemistry and biology at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa before enrolling in The University of Alabama School of Medicine. Bentley completed his residency at Birmingham's Carraway United Methodist Hospital.[5]

In 1969, he joined the United States Air Force and was stationed at Pope AFB near Fayetteville, North Carolina. Upon completion of military service in 1975, Bentley completed a second residency in dermatology before founding his own practice, Alabama Dermatology Associates, in Tuscaloosa.[4]

He is a member of the Academy of Dermatology, American Legion, Family Counseling Advisory Board, Vietnam Veterans of America, Youth for Christ Advisory Board, Alabama State Medical Association, Alabama Wildlife Federation and Deacon/Sunday school teacher at the First Baptist Church.[5]


  • The University of Alabama School of Medicine: MD, 1968
  • The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa: B.S., 1964
  • Shelby County High School, 1960

Political career

Governor of Alabama (2011-present)

Bentley has served as Governor of Alabama since January 17, 2011.

Response to the 2014 illegal immigration surge

See also:2014 illegal immigration surge

On July 22, 2014, the Republican governors of Alabama, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Utah and Wisconsin sent a letter to President Obama expressing their concerns about the handling of the ongoing border crisis. The crisis was over unaccompanied and undocumented immigrant children illegally crossing into Texas. The governors noted that a failure to return the children “will send a message that will encourage a much larger movement towards our southern border,” endangering more children.[7]

Economic Development and Commerce Committee

In October 2013, Bentley was appointed Chair of the Economic Development and Commerce Committee in the National Governors Association by NGA Chair Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and NGA Vice Chair Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper.[8]

Affordable Care Act

As of April 2013, Alabama was one of six states that said they would not help to enforce provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act. In March 2013, Bentley wrote a letter to federal officials saying Washington, not state regulators, should be responsible for making sure policies sold in Alabama comply with the new requirements of the ACA. The governor also rejected other parts of the law, including setting up a state-run health insurance exchange and expanding Medicaid.[9]

Job creation ranking

In a June 2013 analysis by The Business Journals, which ranked 45 of the country's 50 governors by their job creation records, Bentley was ranked number 36 (tie). The five governors omitted from the analysis all assumed office in 2013. The ranking was based on a comparison of the annual private sector growth rate in all 50 states using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.[10][11]

Presidential preference


Bentley voted for Rick Santorum in the 2012 Republican primary but insisted it was not an endorsement.[12]

Alabama House of Representatives (2003-2010)

Committee assignments

Bentley was formerly a member of the following committees:


Bentley did not provide answers to the Alabama State Legislative Election 2006 National Political Awareness Test. The test informs voters how a candidate would vote on the issues if elected.[13]

On The Issues Vote Match

Robert Bentley's Vote Match results from On The Issues.
See also: On The Issues Vote Match

On The Issues conducts a VoteMatch analysis of elected officials based on 20 issue areas. Rather than relying on incumbents to complete the quiz themselves, the VoteMatch analysis is conducted using voting records, statements to the media, debate transcripts or citations from books authored by or about the candidate. Based on the results of the quiz, Bentley is a Libertarian-Leaning Conservative. Bentley received a score of 32 percent on social issues and 76 percent on economic issues.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; refs with no content must have a name

Note: We are working to resolve inaccuracies with this information. Thank you for your patience.

On The Issues organization logo.



See also: Alabama Gubernatorial election, 2014

Bentley ran for re-election as governor in 2014. He announced his bid for a second term in April 2013. Bentley overtook two challengers for the Republican nomination in the June 3 primary election.[14]The general election took place November 4, 2014.

Governor of Alabama Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngRobert Bentley Incumbent 89.3% 388,247
Stacy George 5.8% 25,134
Bob Starkey 4.9% 21,144
Total Votes 434,525
Election Results via Alabama Secretary of State.


See also: Alabama gubernatorial election, 2010 and Gubernatorial elections, 2010

Bentley was eligible for re-election to the Alabama House but chose to run for Governor of Alabama instead. He came in second in the primary to Bradley Byrne, forcing a runoff on July 13. Bentley won 56.1% of the vote, effectively defeating Byrne. He faced Democrat Ron Sparks in the November 2, 2010 general election, winning by 17 points.[15]

2010 General Election
Governor of Alabama, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngRobert J. Bentley 57.6% 860,472
     Democratic Ron Sparks 41.9% 625,710
     Write-in Write-in 0.5% 8,091
Total Votes 1,494,273

2010 Republican Primary Runoff Election

On July 13, 2010, the Associated Press reported that Robert Bentley had defeated Bradley Byrne for the Republican nomination for governor. Turnout was impressive - especially in the context of a single party runoff. Just under half a million Alabamans turned out to have a say in the GOP's nominee.[16]

Governor of Alabama, Primary Runoff, 2010
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngRobert J. Bentley 56.1% 260,887
Bradley Byrne 43.9% 204,394
Total Votes 465,281


On November 7, 2006, Bentley was re-elected to the 63rd District Seat in the Alabama House of Representatives, running uncontested in the general election.[17]

Bentley raised $19,350 for his campaign.[18]

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Bentley is available dating back to 1998. Based on available campaign finance records, Bentley raised a total of $8,149,986 during that time period. This information was last updated on June 4, 2013.[19]

Robert J. Bentley's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 Governor of Alabama Not up for election $-34,522
2010 Governor of Alabama Won $7,643,297
2008 Alabama House of Representatives, District 63 Not up for election $-18,000
2006 Alabama House of Representatives, District 63 Won $19,350
2002 Alabama House of Representatives, District 63 Won $93,101
1998 Alabama State Senate District 21 Defeated $446,760
Grand Total Raised $8,149,986

Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Robert J. Bentley's donors each year.[20] Click [show] for more information.


Bentley and his wife of 48 years, Dianne, have four sons - Paul, John Mark, Luke, Matthew - and seven granddaughters.[5][4]

Recent news

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See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. The Birmingham News, "Alabama's Robert Bentley looks to 2014 governor race," June 3, 2012
  2., "Robert Bentley, the state's unexpected governor, confident as he looks ahead," February 17, 2013
  3. CNN, "Alabama governor touches off controversy with Christian Commons," January 18, 2011
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Office of the Governor, "Governor Robert Bentley," accessed October 4, 2012
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Project Vote Smart - Rep. Bentley
  6. New York Times, "In State Governments, Signs of a Healthier G.O.P.," April 16, 2013
  7. Washington Post, "At least 32 governors have weighed in on the border crisis. Here’s what each has said," July 23, 2014
  8. NGA News Release NGA Chooses New Committee Leadership, E-mail communication to Kristen Mathews October 23, 2013
  9. Insurance Journal, "Alabama Governor Says State Will Not Enforce Federal Health Law’s Protections," April 8, 2013
  10. The Business Journals, "Governors and jobs: How governors rank for job creation in their states," June 27, 2013
  11. The Business Journals, "How state governors rank on their job-growth record," June 27, 2013
  12. CNN, "Alabama governor votes for Santorum," March 13, 2012
  13. Project Vote Smart - Rep. Bentley Issue Positions
  14. The Republic, "Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley seeking second term," April 9, 2013
  15. Alabama Secretary of State, "Canvass of Results, General Election, November 2, 2010," November 22, 2010
  16. Politico, "2012 Alabama Governor Primary," accessed October 4, 2012
  17. Alabama Secretary of State, "Official 2006 election results," accessed April 15, 2014
  18. Follow the Money, "Alabama House spending, 2006," November 4, 2006
  19. Follow the Money, " Career fundraising for Robert Bentley," accessed June 3, 2013
  20. Follow the, "Home," accessed February 17, 2015
Political offices
Preceded by
Alabama House of Representatives District 63
Succeeded by
Bill Poole (R)
Preceded by
Bob Riley (R)
Governor of Alabama
Succeeded by