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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bishop not running for Senate, could run for higher office


State Sen. Charles Bishop, R-Jasper, said Thursday he is not running for reelection to the Legislature and might consider a run for higher office such as governor.

"I am not a candidate," he said. "That is always an option."

Running for governor is an option, but he said he will "probably not" run.

Bishop, 71, said he believes he could help the state more through helping a candidate or by running himself.

"I am taking time to talk with friends and family about what this means, and what I can do to help the people of our state with the life experience that I have had," Bishop said in a statement.

Talking to the media at the State House on Thursday, Bishop said this is a difficult time for Alabama.

"The next governor will have very difficult challenges ahead," he said.

Bishop, who has also run unsuccessfully for governor, said he has higher name recognition than the people who are currently running for governor, although he acknowledged that could be for other reasons.

The controversial senator, who has served three terms in the Senate and one as agriculture commissioner, might be best known by many residents in the state for an infamous incident that happened on the last day of the 2007 legislative session. Bishop punched Democratic Sen. Lowell Barron, D-Fyffe, in the face as they walked off of the Senate floor during a recess.

He has apologized for the incident, which received national attention because it was caught on camera by Alabama Public Television, occurring on the Senate floor.

Bishop has already thrown his support behind another candidate for state Senate, businessman Greg J. Reed of Jasper.

"I am going to vote for him if he's on the ballot," he said.

Reed, who has been involved with local and state Republican politics, announced on Thursday that he will be running for the District 5 Senate seat. He has been in business since 1987.

Bishop said he wanted Reed to run for the seat in 2006, but he could not because of his business and the age of his children.

The senator said he would "love to see a change in the Alabama Senate." He said he would like to see more conservative members in the Senate and would like to see a conservative lieutenant governor.

District 5 includes all or part of Walker, Jefferson, Tuscaloosa and Winston counties.

-- 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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