Sheriffs endorse Sparks
Almost four dozen Democratic sheriffs in Alabama stepped forward on Wednesday to endorse their party's candidate for governor, Ron Sparks, whom they said they trust from their work with him as commissioner of agriculture.
Forty-six sheriffs from Alabama's 67 counties endorsed Sparks, with several of them appearing with the commissioner on Wednesday at his Montgomery headquarters.
Those sheriffs include D.T. Marshall of Montgomery County, Chip Williams of Lowndes County, Harris Huffman Jr. of Dallas County, and David Warren of Macon County.
Sheriff Mike Blakely of Limestone County said they trust Sparks and have all had the opportunity to work with him and the agriculture department during his two terms. He said Sparks, who was a DeKalb County Commissioner, also understands local issues.
Blakely said he has never been more excited about a campaign during his 28 years as sheriff. He said he knew of Republican sheriffs who said they would vote for Sparks, but could not endorse him because they would be kicked out of the party.
Sparks said he has worked with the sheriffs on issues including theft and cattle rustling, but that most of those crimes are related to drugs.
The Alabama State Fraternal Order of Police endorsed Sparks' opponent, Republican state Rep. Robert Bentley of Tuscaloosa.
Sparks also responded to questions about Bentley referring to him as the most liberal Democrat to run for governor, criticizing the commissioner for being pro-choice and for supporting the government overhaul of health care.
Sparks said "liberal" is a catch-phrase that they try to tag people with during election years and said that, unless helping farmers and consumers is considered liberal, that he does not have a liberal record at the agriculture department.
The commissioner criticized Bentley for talking about issues in Washington and not issues in Alabama.
Sparks said that while he is behind in the polls and in fundraising, he would have enough money to get his message out and that polls in the primary had him and Bentley trailing.
Sparks said he feels good that polls show him gaining ground on Bentley.
Recent polls have shown Bentley with a 13-point to 20-point lead, but Sparks said the latest poll from the Capital Survey Research Center shows him cutting Bentley's advantage from 22 points to 13 points.
-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen