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While Bentley's win had been widely expected by Republicans and Democrats, the brass ring for both political parties was winning a majority of seats in both chambers of the Alabama Legislature.
Bentley's win over Democrat Ron Sparks completes a Cinderella like journey for the 67 year old Bentley. He began his quest for the state's highest office with little name recognition and little money, other than what he borrowed and gained from mortgaging his home, and he was given little to no chance of winning against better known and better funded opponents.
Bentley took the stage shortly after Sparks conceded. After thanking God and his family for helping him, Bentley pledged to work with outgoing Gov. Bob Riley for a smooth transition of government. Then Bentley said to those watching across the state on TV: "The most important thing I want to say tonight is this: I love all the people of Alabama. I know I ran as a Republican. And I am a Republican. I've always been a Republican. .. But, I'm going to be the governor of everybody. Starting tomorrow from this day forth, whether you're a Republican or a Democrat, whether you're black or white, it doesn't matter because I care about you. You're an Alabamian."
But by the end of the night Tuesday, Bentley led Sparks 58 percent to 42 percent, beating him by roughly 200,000 votes out of 1.2 million cast. Tuesday. Talking to a large crowd of supporters at a downtown Montgomery hotel, Sparks said he had called Bentley to congratulate him. Sparks called himself one of the luckiest guys in the world.
Bentley acknowledged that the Republican party now finds itself in an entirely different position, with a responsibility to govern, "We've always been good challengers," he said. "We need Prada Thong Sandal Sale
When Tuesday night was done, much of the Democratic leadership had fallen. House Majority Leader Rep. Ken Guin of Carbon Hill had lost in a landslide. Senate Majority Leader Zeb Little lost his post handily and Sen. Lowell Barron, chairman of the powerful Senate Rules Committee, lost in a nip and tuck race.
Julian Bentley, who until June was a little known Republican legislator and retired Tuscaloosa dermatologist, was elected Alabama's 53rd governor.
Bentley said he planned to meet with legislative leaders this week. He said he would leave it to the members of the Legislature to pick their leaders, but added that he was still looking at how big the Republican majority would be and whether he might need to form a centrist coalition.
Sparks said he ran as hard as he could for governor, but the people of the state had made a decision and he accepted that decision fully.
Robert Bentley easily defeats Ron Sparks to be governor of Alabama with video
to be good leaders now."
(The Birmingham News / Michelle Campbell)
The state GOP has spent millions of dollars and years planning to take control of the Legislature, and the Republican brain trust had widely predicted that the party would finally grab legislative power Tuesday.
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An apparently energized Ralph Lauren Trainers Womens electorate painted Alabama a deeper red Tuesday as Republicans hammered Democrats, winning the governor's office easily and a majority of seats in the Legislature for the first time Palladium Shoes Fashion
At the same time, Democrats desperate to hold onto their last real bastion of statewide political power also threw millions of dollars into the battle for the Legislature, knowing that to lose it to Republicans would give the GOP majority control over all three branches of state government and, for the first time, control of the purse strings of all state budgets.
Bentley said Alabama faces some tough problems, but he said Alabamians are resilient. "We're a good, hard working people and we're going to work together," he said. in Tuscaloosa. He said he'd been working on a transition team for some time.
"I had the opportunity to represent the state of Alabama two terms," Sparks said of his time as agriculture commissioner. "I went out and talked to farmers every day to make sure they stayed on the farms. I fought to make sure the food in Alabama was safe. I fought to create jobs."
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