‘No regrets’: Tommy Battle comes up short in bid for governor

Tommy Battle and his wife, Eula, thank supporters after his bid for governor comes up short Tuesday. (WHNT News 19)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. РTommy Battle traveled nearly 900 miles across the state of Alabama on Tuesday in his last-minute push to earn the Republican nomination in the gubernatorial primary race. He still came up short.

“I have no regrets,” Battle told the supporters at his campaign watch party at the EarlyWorks Children’s History Museum in downtown Huntsville. “Even if I knew a year ago that this was going to happen, that this would be the end result, but I knew that this was the process to go through and the people I’d meet, there would be no regrets to doing it. So it’s a little bit bittersweet, but more than bittersweet, I’m proud to be the Mayor of Huntsville and I’m proud to be staying here.”

Battle’s team said its strategy from day one was to get into a runoff with incumbent Gov. Kay Ivey. She clinched the Republican nomination outright Tuesday night. Battle called to congratulate her after thanking his supporters.

“She was very, very gracious,” he said. “She congratulated us on running a good race and a very clean race. And I told her, we’re looking forward to bringing you back to Huntsville for more ribbon cuttings and more groundbreakings because we have great things happening here and we’ll have more great things happening here.”

At the start of his campaign, the three-term mayor of Huntsville knew he needed more name recognition in the southern part of the state. He managed to nab about 25 percent of the votes, but he won only six of Alabama’s 67 counties.

Over the last 13 months, Battle and his team said they traveled to all of those counties, talked to more than 400 groups and participated in 22 forums or debates in an effort to drum up support.

Battle said he will now focus all of that energy back on what he was doing before this race started.

“To the people of Huntsville, thank you for allowing me to do this for the last year,” he said. “You have indulged me as I have run for this race and you have been very supportive and very kind and thank you for doing that. Tomorrow, I go back to doing what I was doing before this. I go back to being mayor of one of the greatest city’s in the world.”

Battle also acknowledged his wife of 28 years, Eula. She traveled alongside him on the campaign trail. Battle said she was a little tearful following the loss, but glad they will continue to live about three blocks away from their grandson.

“That makes all of us happy,” he said.

Battle said he would punctuate a whirlwind election day with a good night’s sleep, but he planned to return to work at city hall on Wednesday morning.