MONTGOMERY, AL - It's official. Gov. Robert Bentley is running for re-election in 2014.
"I remain humbled and honored to serve the people of this great state as governor. After prayerful consideration, Dianne and I have decided to seek the Republican nomination for a second term," Bentley announced in a statement from his campaign.
"Our state has been through a great deal of hardship over the last two years, but we have also enjoyed a great deal of success,"he said.
"I am proud of the progress we have made, especially when it comes to economic prosperity. I look forward to continuing that progress in a second term."
Bentley, 70, first confirmed his decision, which was not widely noticed, at the state convention of college Republicans over the weekend.
Slideshow: Key moments from Bentley's first two years
The announcement was not a surprise since Bentley has been strongly suggesting for some time that he will seek a second term.
"I'm not truly undecided. I'm just not going to tell you yet," Bentley said when asked in February about his re-election plans.
Bentley, a state legislator from Tuscaloosa, was initially a long shot in the 2010 GOP primary for governor. His campaign was boosted after the Alabama Education Association weighed in to try and defeat Bradley Byrne in the Republican primary.
Bentley, a retired dermatologist, vowed to be a doctor to an economically ailing state. He promised not to take a salary until the state returned to "full employment" a number he pegged at 5.2 percent unemployment.
Republicans praised Bentley.
"I think he has done an excellent job. I think he has been effective. I think he deserves to be re-elected and I intend to support him," Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, said.
House Minority Leader Craig Ford, D-Gadsden, criticized Bentley's leadership saying the state's unemployment is still around 7.2 percent.
Ford also criticized Bentley's decision not to expand Alabama's Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act and to sign a bill that will give tax credits to families at "failing" public schools to help pay tuition at a private school.
"I don't know how he can justify those decisions and hope to win re-election," Ford said.
The Republican primary will be held June 4, 2014.