Bedford not running for governor
Powerful state Sen. Roger Bedford, D-Russellville, said he is not running for governor in 2010.
He said he considered running for the position for the last month, but "decided that I can best serve the people of Alabama as the Senate General Fund chairman and not as a candidate for governor."
"That point became abundantly clear to me during the last two days of this legislative session. A governor's veto threatened funding for critical programs for our seniors, our children, homeland security and mental health," Bedford said in a statement released Monday. "Most importantly, that veto threatened my personal effort to expand our children's health insurance program to 14,000 more kids. As General Fund chairman, I got the Senate to override that veto and protect all my priorities in the budget, especially the All Kids health insurance program. This was a factor that convinced me that, at this time in my professional life and the life of my family, it is best that I remain in the Senate."
He said he received calls, e-mails and letters from throughout the state.
"That makes this decision even harder," Bedford said. "I will now focus my efforts on keeping a Democratic majority in the Senate and electing a fellow Democrat as the next governor of Alabama."
Bedford, D-Russellville, said he considered entering the race after Lt. Gov. Jim Folsom Jr. said he was running for reelection and not for governor in 2010.
He is chairman of the Senate General Fund budget committee. The General Fund contains money for prisons, Medicaid, children's health care, state troopers and other non-education functions in state government.
Gov. Bob Riley bashed the "Bedford budget" for having too much pork, including festivals in the districts of lawmakers, and for taking money from the cash-strapped Alabama Department of Corrections.
-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen