Elba (WTVY)-- After signing campaign qualifying papers Troy King wasted no time criticizing the man he hopes to unseat---Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall.
He questioned Marshall’s 2017 appointment by then Governor Robert Bentley when the attorney general’s office was investigating Bentley. “He (Marshall) immediately turned around and cut (Bentley) a sweetheart plea bargain deal,” King said.
Bentley, when he resigned in April, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor campaign law violations in an agreement with Marshall’s office.
The governor didn’t necessary get off easy. In addition to submitting his resignation, Bentley agreed to repay or forfeit about $45,000 in campaign funds, perform 100 hours of community service, and give up his state pension.
King also criticized other state officials including Luther Strange, who like Marshall, accepted a U.S. Senate appointment from Bentley while investigating the governor.
During a Thursday visit to Elba, his boyhood home, King also questioned why Marshall is attempting to close non-tribal gambling operations in the state.
“It seems to me Alabama has more serious problems that little old ladies playing bingo. We have spent far too much money on this issue. We have litigated it and litigated and now we have more litigation on this issue,” he said.
King refers to Marshall’s ongoing effort to shut down several so-called electronic bingo operations including Center Stage Alabama in Houston County. A hearing regarding Center Stage is set February 21.
To be fair, Marshall isn’t the first person to target what he refers to as “illegal slot machines.” Strange, former Governor Bob Riley, and appointed anti-gambling czar John Tyson also did.
All rulings from the Alabama Supreme Court have indicated machines used, until now, in the casinos are illegal, citing the Cornerstone six-point test arising from the first casino closed nearly a decade ago.
King served as attorney general following his appointment in 2004 to fill the unexpired term if Bill Pryor, appointed to a federal judgeship. He won a full term in 2006 but lost to Strange four years later.
Others candidates seeking to become attorney general, but not mentioned by King, are former federal prosecutor Alice Martin and Chess Bedsole.