Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) avoids runoff, defeating eight challengers in Republican primary

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) avoids runoff, defeating eight challengers in Republican primary

Incumbent Kay Ivey (R) defeated eight candidates in Alabama’s Republican gubernatorial primary on May 24, 2022. She led the field with 55% of the vote, followed by Lynda Blanchard (R) at 19%, and Tim James (R) at 16%. No other candidate received more than 10% of the vote.

A candidate needed to win the primary with over 50% of the vote to advance to the general election.

Ivey was first elected governor in 2018, defeating Walt Maddox (D) 60% to 40%. Before becoming governor, Ivey served as lieutenant governor from 2011 to 2017, and as state treasurer from 2003 to 2011. In a campaign ad, Ivey highlighted her record, saying, “There’s no critical race theory in our schools, I signed the strongest pro-life law in America, I stood with Trump to ensure no election here can ever be stolen, and we created thousands of new jobs.”

Ivey, Blanchard, and James led the field in fundraising and media coverage. Lew Burdette (R), Stacy George (R), Donald Jones (R), Dean Odle (R), Dave Thomas (R), and Dean Young (R) also ran in the primary.

Gas prices in the state were a key issue in the race. Alabama approved a state gas tax increase of 10 cents per gallon in 2019, with the possibility of increases up to one cent every two years. Revenue from the tax was directed toward road and bridge construction. Blanchard said, “we have struggling families and business while our state sits on a surplus and spends enough money to make a drunken sailor blush,” and supported temporarily suspending state taxes on gas. James said, “every time I turn around, every day, I see an announcement about the governor handing out more money to these pet projects,” and said he supported repealing the 2019 increase. Ivey said there were other factors affecting gas prices, saying, “Let’s not lose sight of the main problem here, and that’s Joe Biden’s policies. He’s got inflation at a 40-year record high.”

Heading into the election, a Republican had held the Alabama governorship since the 2002 elections, which was also the last time an incumbent governor was defeated in the state.