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AL-05/AL-Gov: Sparks Decides To Remain in Gubernatorial Race

December 30th, 2009, 04:12 am admin Leave a comment Go to comments

After a less-than-24-hour flirtation that stemmed from a Politico article and some offhanded comments made by his campaign manager, Alabama state Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks made it clear today in a series of press conferences that he is not planning a run for Congress:

State Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks pledged to continue his bid for governor on Tuesday, saying there was “never a point” where he considered running for the North Alabama congressional seat held by Parker Griffith, who last week switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party.

“We are more committed now than ever to run for governor of the state of Alabama,” Sparks said outside the Madison County Courthouse.

In an odd twist, Sparks accused the campaign of his Democratic rival for the gubernatorial nomination, Congressman Artur Davis, of flogging the Sparks for Congress story, and alleging that Davis had done it before by promulgating the rumor that Sparks might switch to a race for Lt. Governor.

Of course, a big part of the “Sparks for Congress” rumors began not with Davis, but with the words of Sparks’ own campaign manager, who while not confirming any interest for Sparks in the Congressional race, did feel compelled to point out that his boss had won every county in the 5th district during his successful campaigns for Agriculture Commissioner.

Speculation now turns to a pair of potentially top-tier candidates on the Democratic side. One is former state auditor Susan Parker, who was defeated in a 2002 Senate bid by Jeff Sessions but won a seat on the state’s Public Service Commission in 2006. The other potential candidate is judge Deborah Bell Paseur, who narrowly lost a bid for the state Supreme Court last fall but did manage to carry the counties of the 5th Congressional district in that race by more than five points.

Of course, the Republican nomination in the 5th district is still very much an open question. Just yesterday, conservative insurgent candidate Les Phillip issued a new campaign mailer aimed at district conservatives, reminding voters that nouveau Republican Parker Griffith was donating cash to Howard Dean and Harry Reid within the last five years.

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