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Ex-lawmaker brings Kay Ivey’s personal life into governor’s race, after exchange over funding for LGBT assistance group

HOMEWOOD, Ala. - In a day full of charged political rhetoric, GOP gubernatorial candidate Tommy Battle stuck to the script. Battle held a news conference on Wednesday afternoon to address recent developments on the campaign trail. He asked for the conversation to change and for it to focus on the records of candidates.

On Monday, Free2Be, a Huntsville organization that serves the LGBTQ community, shut down. Republican candidate Scott Dawson jumped on the issue Tuesday, accusing Governor Kay Ivey of betraying Alabama's values because the state provided funding for a group that counsels LGBTQ teens and adults. Ivey responded by saying the group was actually supported by federal money, but also added that she does not support the values "pushed by the organization."

On Tuesday evening, Representative Patricia Todd, the only openly gay lawmaker in Alabama, suggested that Ivey was gay on Twitter.

Governor Kay Ivey released a statement in response to Todd's claim on Twitter Wednesday morning.

In a brief news conference, Battle said that voters should look at candidates' achievement records. He didn't address the recent developments specifically, but he told reporters it's time for leaders to step forward and make Alabama better. Battle then played a campaign video he made in September, which focused on staying away from political attack ads.

"Today is time to change that conversation about the state. Running for political office should be about listening to people, about discussing the issues and challenges that face our state, and then determine the best way to take on those challenges and solve those challenges," said Battle.