HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- With four weeks until the Alabama primaries, the GOP rivals to Gov. Kay Ivey are breaking out a new campaign tool – notes from their doctors.
The issue of candidate health was first raised by Alabama Sen. Bill Hightower, R-Mobile, April 27, when he released his medical records. He avoided directly criticizing Ivey, but suggested as a voter he’d wonder why a candidate wouldn’t release their medical records.
Hightower is 57.
Republican gubernatorial candidates Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and Hoover evangelist Scott Dawson followed suit, with Battle releasing a letter from his doctor Friday and Dawson doing so Tuesday.
Battle’s doctor said his “general medical condition was very good.” Battle is 62.
Dawson’s doctor said he was in “excellent physical health.” Dawson is 50.
Ivey, 73, is the oldest candidate in the field and has deflected questions about releasing her own medical records, calling Hightower’s move a “publicity stunt,” according to AL.com.
Ivey’s campaign has not responded to WHNT’s requests for comment on whether the governor would release medical records. She did tell AL.com, “For those who are genuinely interested, my health is doing great. I'm in good health and I give thanks to God almighty for it."
For his part, Battle said voters will have to look at Ivey and decide if she’s healthy enough to serve as governor. He said it was “very reasonable” to ask Ivey to release medical information given the demands of the job.
Battle also pointed to the tendency of Alabama voters to re-elect sitting governors so the next governor could be in office up to 8 years.
“I think that’s one of the keys, in this race,” he said. “We have got to make sure that we elect somebody who can actually do the job. If we’re going to do the job to the degree that we need to, to make this state better, it’s going to be a 24/7 job, that you will be working on 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, making sure that you’re out there talking to the people of the State of Alabama.”
Battle said the report from his doctor shows he’s capable of handling the demands of the job.
“It does say that we are fit to serve,” he said. “You know when you get into the governor’s office, just like when we do a recruitment of an industry. The election is just the first part of it. The real work is after the election.”
Battle said the fitness for office issue is real, given the need for the next governor to restore people’s confidence in their government and oversee a large and diverse state.
“The real work means you have to get up like we do, get up at 5 in the morning, you have to end at 9, you have to travel all across the state you have to have the energy to be able to do that,” Battle said.