SPANISH FORT — State Auditor Jim Zeigler sounds more and more like he will give a gubernatorial bid a go in 2022.
The two-term state auditor laid out how he would fulfill his potential higher-office ambitions before a crowd gathered for a Common Sense Campaign meeting at the Original Oyster House on the Mobile Bay Causeway Monday night.
After handing out flyers proclaiming such a run as “Jim Zeigler and The Taxpayers vs. Kay Ivey and Insiders,” Zeigler discussed how he was outmatched in certain categories but felt a grassroots effort was feasible given victories he had claimed over the Ivey administration that included defeating the proposed Mobile Bay toll bridge and voting down the Amendment One in 2020, which would have changed how the board members of the state school board were selected.
— Jeff Poor (@jeff_poor) August 2, 2021
Zeigler, whose birthday falls on May 23, asked for a victory in the May 24, 2022 GOP primary for a birthday present.
“For my birthday, all I want is a victory in the Republican nomination for governor,” Zeigler proclaimed.
He insisted his opponent, incumbent Gov. Kay Ivey, would have a fundraising advantage in the possible head-to-head matchup.
“The insiders are the only ones they listen to,” he said. “They don’t listen to you. They don’t listen to me. They don’t work for us.”
Zeigler pointed to the decades-long struggles with Alabama’s portion of U.S. Highway 45, which has claimed dozens of lives over the past few decades. Highway 45 stretches from Ontonagon, MI, near the shores of Lake Superior, to just north of downtown Mobile at U.S. Highway 98. The entire highway south of Illinois, with the exception of the portion in Alabama, is four-laned.
“Just as an example, Highway 45 from [Alabama Highway] 158 in Saraland up through Citronelle, up to the Mississippi line — two lanes, it’s in foul shape, and there have been fatal accidents one right after another. The Ivey administration and ALDOT have no plans, no plans to widen Highway 45 in Mobile County.”
Zeigler spoke about a funeral attended by one of the victims of a U.S. Highway 45 fatality he and his wife, State School Board member Jackie Zeigler, attended.
“It was a preventable death,” Zeigler said. “ALDOT claims there is not enough traffic on Highway 45 to four-lane it. And while a normal road of that length would cost $20-30 million, this is going to cost $300 million. Now, they’ve not itemized the figures how they came up with that. And I have serious doubts about that $300 million figure. But public safety is a factor. It’s not just traffic count. What about the death count? We’re pro-life. What about the fatalities on that road? They’re not considered.”
During a question-and-answer session, Zeigler was asked about his views on medicinal marijuana and why, according to the questioner, Alabama lags behind Florida in its implementation of a medical marijuana program. Zeigler said it was his opinion Alabama should be led by a governor that was more like Govs. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and Kristi Noem (R-SD).
“I study what Ron DeSantis does,” he said. “We need a governor who is more like Kristi Noem and Ron DeSantis. We may not agree with them on everything. I don’t know everything that they do. But they’ve taken a real leadership role, and that’s one of them. If that’s good in Florida, I want to do it in Alabama.”
@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.