Gov. Kay Ivey attends Madison County Republican Men’s breakfast with GOP rivals

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Governor Kay Ivey made a stop in Huntsville Saturday morning at the Madison County Republican Men’s breakfast where she was joined by her GOP challengers. The four gubernatorial candidates haven't been under the same roof in months.

"The state of Alabama is looking for a head coach. I'm the only person applying for this position who's had experience coaching at this level," Gov. Ivey said.

Ivey's gubernatorial rivals argue this coach doesn't want to play any away games.

"She hasn't had to stand on the stage and answer question after question after question. We have. That ought to mean something to people in Alabama," said GOP candidate, Alabama Sen. Bill Hightower.

Hightower, Mayor Tommy Battle and Scott Dawson have traveled the state, debating over a dozen times leading up to the June 5 primary.

"Our poll numbers are going up, the governor's are coming down. That may have been why she attended today," Battle said.

At the breakfast, candidates were given five minutes each to make their pitch to voters. The event comes days after Dawson criticized grant money that was given to the Free-2-Be organization, which is now closed and undergoing an audit.

"$800,000 or 1.7 million cumulative. We have to look at ADECA and make sure we're accountable before the people," Dawson said.

"He was very misinformed on that," Ivey said in response to Dawson's claims. "There were no tax dollars involved in that. The grant was done according to federal guidelines and federal requirements."

Heading into Saturday morning's breakfast, Dawson, Battle and Hightower agree, the biggest challenge has been getting Ivey to show up. They doubt a debate will happen before voters fill out their primary ballots in just over two weeks.

Mayor Battle, Dawson and Hightower have agreed to another debate a week from Tuesday in Tuscaloosa during the Alabama Boys State conference. It's unclear if Ivey will attend.