Yellowhammer first broke the news this week that Governor Bentley officially announced his candidacy for re-election in 2014. Only a couple of days later, it looks like the first potential challenger is emerging — but it’s not any of the usual suspects.
A corrections officer named Stacy Lee George is at the State House today handing out business cards and telling people he is preparing to challenge Governor Bentley in the Republican primary. He told several officials and staffers that he will possibly officially announce his candidacy tomorrow.
George made headlines in north Alabama last year when the Morgan County Republican Party denounced him. The Morgan County GOP Committee passed a resolution severing ties with him after the committee attempted to keep him from running to become a Newt Gingrich delegate to the GOP National Convention. The State Republican Party allowed him to stay on the ballot over the local Party’s objections.
County GOP Vice Chairman John Mays told the Decatur Daily at the time that they “did it because he left the Republican Party and served his last few months as commissioner as a Democrat. And we remembered all he had said about the party and the people involved in it. And if that’s what he thought, we didn’t want him representing us.”
George became Morgan County’s first Republican commissioner in 2000, but left and joined the Democrat Party after he said local Republicans rejected him.
“They never welcomed me into the party,” George told the Decatur Daily. “I am not a member of the country club, I don’t golf. I pitch horse shoes. I’m not their type. I am a real Republican. I didn’t come to the party like some of the Democrats they have accepted, who crossed over to keep from being defeated in local elections.”
He went on to say that the State Party allowed him to stay on the ballot because “anyone can run” and because they felt the local Party was being vindictive.
George went on to campaign for Gingrich in the county, but Mays promised at the time if he ever ran again, his candidacy as a Republican would be challenged.
George lost his Commission seat in the GOP primary in 2008. It looks like he’s ready to make a comeback.