Last week, rumors began swirling around the state that the governor would soon resign amid the pressures of a state-led investigation and impending impeachment. Now, Robert Bentley’s office is denying that he is considering stepping down.
“Gov. Bentley takes very seriously his call to serve as Alabama’s 53rd Governor, and considers it the greatest honor of his life,” spokesperson Yasamie August said in a statement to AL.com. “He has plans only to continue to serve the people of this state, and as he stated so clearly in his 2017 State of the State address, to “finish the race.”
Bentley had been treated twice over the past two weeks for an irregular heartbeat, leading to speculation that his physical health has been impacted by recent stresses of his office. His staff has insisted that his ability to serve has not been impacted by the brief health concerns.
The governor is currently mired in investigations and is facing potential impeachment. The House Judiciary Committee has instructed special counsel Jack Sharman to proceed with an investigation against Bentley. It had been on hold after Attorney General Luther Strange asked the legislative panel to pause their efforts in order to avoid legal conflicts that would cross with his office’s work.
Last legislative session, Rep. Ed Henry (R-Hartselle) and House Minority Leader Rep. Craig Ford (D-Gadsden) introduced articles of impeachment against the governor, alleging neglect of duty, corruption, incompetency, and offenses of moral turpitude.
Articles of impeachment must be passed by a simple majority in the Alabama House of Representatives. If the House impeaches the governor, he then stands trial before the Alabama Senate in a trial presided over by the Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court.
If the Governor is convicted by the Senate, he would be removed from office and replaced by the current Lieutenant Governor, Kay Ivey (R).