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Marshall returns to campaign in heated AG race with King

July 14, 2018
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FILE - In this June 8, 2018 file photo, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall speaks during the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Marshall and former Attorney General Troy King face off in Tuesday’s Republican runoff in the race for attorney general. Marshall is seeking to win the office outright after being appointed. King is seeking to return to the job he held from 2004 to 2011. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall and former Attorney General Troy King are making their final pitches to voters ahead of Tuesday’s Republican runoff.

Marshall returned to the campaign trail Saturday for the first time following the suicide of his wife last month.

Marshall thanked people for supporting him during his loss. He said he never considered dropping out of the race because his wife had urged him to run.

“One of the last things that my wife had left for me was a note. She said that I know you are the man for the job and the man for Alabama,” Marshall said.

A group of GOP attorneys generals, including Pam Bondi of Florida, held rallies with Marshall on Saturday in both ends of the state. Bondi said “ethics and integrity mean everything” and others praised his record as a prosecutor.

“We believe in what he’s doing for Alabama and I believe in what he’s doing for President Trump,” Bondi said

Marshall is seeking to win the office in his own right after being appointed last year by then-Gov. Robert Bentley. He previously served 16 years as the district attorney of Marshall County.

Both King and Marshall are stressing their records in the heated runoff.

King, who was attorney general from 2004 to 2011, is seeking a political comeback.

King was appointed as attorney general by then-Gov. Bob Riley. He was elected to a full term in 2006, but he lost the 2010 GOP primary to Luther Strange.

In an interview with the Associated Press, King said he was the true Republican in the race, noting that, as a 10-year-old, he went door-to-door campaigning for Ronald Reagan. Marshall, who was initially appointed by Gov. Don Siegelman, switched to the GOP in 2011.

“On Tuesday this election is about the Republican Party nominating a standard-bearer. Only one of us is a Republican,” King said when asked why runoff voters should choose him.

King will hold a series of Monday rallies with Trump ally Roger Stone.

Both campaigns paused their activities last month following the death of Bridgette Marshall. King said he pulled his commercials from the air for a week after the death out of respect for his opponent.

In returning to the campaign trail, King said he would focus on contrasting their records.

That does not mean the primary has not gotten heated at times.

King criticized Bentley’s appointment of Marshall when Bentley was the subject of an ethics investigation as a “crooked deal.”

King said Marshall got his dream job and “let a man who corrupted Alabama go free.”

Marshall responded that he was ethically required to recuse himself from the investigation, but he appointed an “experienced tough prosecutor” to lead the probe and “six weeks after that Robert Bentley was out of office.” Bentley resigned after pleading guilty to misdemeanor campaign finance violations.

Marshall’s campaign sent out a direct mail piece with unflattering headlines from King’s time as attorney general, including that King had briefly been the subject of a federal grand jury investigation. The probe ended without charges.

King responded that the probe was politically motivated and was leaked to the press to derail his 2010 campaign. He said it ended without charges because he did nothing wrong.

The runoff winner will race Democrat Joseph Siegelman in November.

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