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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hawkins decides against running for governor

Troy University Chancellor Jack Hawkins said Wednesday that he was intrigued by the idea of running for governor, but instead of pursuing the state’s top office has decided to continue his work at the school.

People had talked for months about the possibility of Hawkins entering the 2010 race for governor as a Republican. The chancellor said he received encouragement from many people to run, but after consulting with his family and those who have run for political office, including Gov. Bob Riley, he decided not to enter the race.

Several of the officials in attendance at his announcement at Troy’s Montgomery campus, including a current legislator and a former state senator, said the day was bittersweet.

Former state Sen. Gerald Dial, who is now executive director of the governor’s Rural Alabama Action Commission, and state Rep. Alan Boothe, D-Troy, said they are happy to see Hawkins stay at the university, but that they believe he would have been a good governor.

Hawkins, who has served as the chancellor since 1989, encouraged the next governor to follow Riley’s plans for education, economic development and ethics.

He did say the decision not to run was "difficult" and that he, late last year, was leaning toward running. Hawkins said he contemplated running for more than a year.

"However, I decided I am far more passionate about Troy University than I am about being a candidate for political office," he said.

Hawkins said he had received "considerable encouragement" to run. He said he never said he wanted to run for governor or any elected office, but said the thought was intriguing and he is interested in good government.

A poll conducted earlier this year by the pollster for U.S. Rep. Artur Davis, D-Birmingham, who has announced he is running for governor, showed Hawkins with a five-percentage point advantage over Davis. Two-year college system Chancellor Bradley Byrne trailed Davis in a head-to-head contest while state Treasurer Kay Ivey was tied with the congressman, according to the Anzalone-Liszt Research Inc.

-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen

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Location: Montgomery, AL, United States

South Union Street is the blog of Montgomery Advertiser political reporters Markeshia Ricks and Sebastian Kitchen. Always check here for the latest on the Legislature, elections and other activities and players in Alabama.

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