Governor Robert Bentley was the keynote speaker Saturday at the annual Alabama College Republicans State Convention. UA’s student-run newspaper, The Crimson White, was the only media outlet in the room, but even they didn’t seem to catch what happened as Bentley spoke to the room full of college students.
— Yellowhammer (@YHPolitics) April 6, 2013
The phrase “When I run for re-election in 2014…” set Bentley staffers in motion as they realized it was the first time the Governor had publicly acknowledged his intention to seek a second term. The announcement itself comes as no surprise, especially to staffers who were aware of his plans, but the timing and venue were a bit unexpected.
Yellowhammer was told that the Governor’s team immediately went to work preparing the paperwork that must be filed after his public announcement.
“The Governor was elected in 2010 with one of the youngest campaign staffs in recent memory,” a source close to the Governor told Yellowhammer Saturday afternoon. “He knows the young people in that room will be a huge part of his re-election effort. Making the announcement today shows how important their help is to him.”
The Obama economy has been especially tough on young people. Roughly half of college graduates under the age of 25 are unemployed or underemployed working in jobs that don’t utilize the skills or knowledge they learned in college. Governor Bentley has pledged to not take a salary until Alabama reaches full employment. That message clearly resonates with millennials who have felt abandoned by an increasingly out-of-touch political class, particularly at the Federal level. “We were excited to have the Governor as our keynote speaker, and thrilled he chose our event to announce his re-election,” newly elected Alabama CR Chairman Stephanie Petelos told Yellowhammer. “We’re excited to work closely with his campaign to ensure he’s elected to a second term.”
Bentley continues to enjoy sky-high job approval ratings and even the usual rumors of a primary challenge have been few and far between. The Bentley campaign will begin to take shape pretty soon ahead of the 2014 fundraising window opens June 1 — less than two months from now.