Governor’s race plays a background role in Toyota-Mazda deal

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - It may be years before we truly know the economic impact of the Toyota-Mazda facilities, but in just a few months, it could make up a pivotal component of the Republican primary for Alabama Governor.

Toyota took the stage, front and center, Wednesday in Montgomery.

But there was a side act - that may take up more limelight as we inch closer to the Governor's race Republican Primary featuring Governor Kay Ivey and Huntsville Mayor Battle.

"This is the first major project that began on my watch and has been announced on my watch so it’s a huge deal," Ivey told WHNT News 19 on Wednesday.

Battle mentioned in a news conference Wednesday night, that Ivey's team supported his team in landing Toyota-Mazda.

"They were right there with us and supported us and backed us the whole time," Battle stated.

Then comes the politics of the announcement itself. Instead of it taking place in North Alabama, it was in Montgomery.

"You know, most of our announcements are made in the Tennessee Valley," said Battle.

He went on to explain this gave Toyota statewide recognition in a state that is branding itself as an automotive manufacturing hub.

"I think that’s what a whole lot of it was about - going to Montgomery and being in Montgomery, this gave them the chance to be the shining star of the day," he said.

While both Gubernatorial candidates were more modest on their own, the supporting cast didn't always hide their allegiances.

"Our Quarterback is Mayor Tommy Battle. Let me tell ya, Mayor, I appreciate you brother. The relentless commitment that you show when you start is second to none," Limestone County Commission Chairman Mark Yarbrough told reporters.

So which candidate will take credit for this economic juggernaut?

"Listen, when good things happen for Alabama, we all take ownership. Success has many fathers. We’ll all be a father of this one," Battle said.

Likely all of the above.

"I was amazed at how quiet and under wraps we were able to keep it until the company made their final decision," said Ivey.

Mayor Battle went on to say that Governor Ivey actually called him to give the good news about the Toyota-Mazda deal.

Both candidates say the conversation was friendly, and that this is good news for all of Alabama.