Gov. Kay Ivey blasted by GOP rivals for skipping debate

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ( — The three challengers to Gov. Kay Ivey for the Republican gubernatorial nomination criticized the absent governor during a debate hosted by a Birmingham television station.

The candidates were asked about Ivey's absence by the panel of the WVTM Channel 13 debate and they did not mince words.

"Are we hiding something?" evangelist Scott Dawson asked.

"This isn't a student government election," Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said. "This is an election about what is going to happen to the state of Alabama for the next four years. If you can't come out and give people your vision, your reasons, what you want to see happen, then you're not a public servant."

State Sen. Bill Hightower of Mobile shared his experience of serving in the legislature with Ivey as governor. At another point in the debate, Hightower said that Ivey during the 2018 session never visited the State House, the home of the legislature that is across Union Street from the state capitol.

"Look, I sat in the Senate and saw the incredible lack of leadership across the street in the capitol," he said. "And that is the reason I'm running."

While the question on Ivey's absence from the panel perhaps set the candidates' criticism up for an easy shot, the theme continued throughout the debate.

Ivey was in Birmingham, not for the debate but to attend the Birmingham Barons baseball game. She threw a two-hopper ceremonial first pitch while wearing a black baseball jersey with her name embroidered on the back.

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