Strange comes out swinging in fight against King
Birmingham attorney and former lobbyist Luther Strange announced his candidacy for attorney general online Wednesday morning in a video that went after incumbent Troy King.
Both men have announced they are running as Republicans in 2010.
"My first priority would be to restore excellence, integrity and the highest ethical standards to the office," Strange said in the taped clip on his Web site. "Unfortunately, ethical lapses, impropriety and incompetence have plagued the office throughout the last five years."
He said Alabamians could only restore the confidence in the office with a change in leadership.
His second priority, he said, would be to "marshal the full power of the office to support the governor's fight to end illegal gambling operations in the state."
Strange's entrance into the race is also likely more evidence that some in the Republican party are not happy with King, who has had public disagreements with Republican Gov. Bob Riley on gambling and who had a public disagreement with most of the district attorneys in the state over a death penalty case.
In the clip, Strange mentions news articles that talk about King attending an event at the house of Country Crossing developer Ronnie Gilley just months after releasing an opinion that the sheriff in Houston County needed to grant a permit to Gilley's development, which will have a variety of entertainment including music and dinner theaters, but also has a planned pavilion with electronic bingo.
"This conflict of interest is unacceptable," Strange said. "Alabamians deserve an attorney general whose only allegiance is to the law."
The candidate also said he would pursue corruption "wherever it may be" before again taking a shot at King. He mentioned King's "unfortunate recusal" in the investigation into the state's two year college system after the attorney general asked former two-year system Chancellor Roy Johnson for help in finding an employee's mother a job.
"This is the most important public corruption investigation in decades and our current attorney general cannot participate," Strange said. "Alabama needs an attorney general whose willing and able to confront corruption head on."
Strange's announcement came the same day that a story appeared in the Birmingham News talking about ongoing subpoenas and investigations into King's office. Federal prosecutors subpoenaed travel, gift, cell phone and spending information.
Strange said his goal will be restoring integrity and professionalism to the office.
He spends much of his time in the three minute clip talking about King. He also said his more than 30 years as an accomplished lawyer have prepared him for the job.
Strange, the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor in 2006, is entering his second race for public office. He defeated three other Republicans in the 2006 primary before losing to Democrat Jim Folsom Jr.
Strange has worked on the campaigns of two men who have occupied the attorney general's office, Jeff Sessions and Bill Pryor. He said the office earned respect under the leadership of Sessions and Pryor, but there has been a sad decline in that respect.
Traditionally, statewide candidates in Alabama make their announcement in public settings, where they take questions from the media, but Strange's campaign sent out alerts informing the media he was making his announcement online.
--posted by Sebastian Kitchen