HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle has the second highest fundraising total for the 2018 Alabama Governor’s race, trailing only sitting Gov. Kay Ivey. But Ivey’s haul has been boosted by a Madison County developer who Battle skirmished with publicly in recent years.
Developer Louis Breland gave Ivey $100,000 on Aug. 31, helping her reach $1 million in funds raised. Current campaign finance records show Ivey has raised $1.2 million and Battle has raised just under $870,000.
Battle’s public clash with Breland occurred in August 2014 after the developer sued a rival developer over the Cabela’s store project. Breland had sought the Cabela’s outdoors store for his Town Madison development, but Cabela’s ultimately located near Bridge Street. The lawsuit alleged the rival developer colluded with the city of Huntsville to secure the deal.
After the lawsuit was filed, Battle went public about a conversation he had with Breland. He alleged Breland attempted to bully him and the city in that conversation.
Battle said, “Mr. Breland’s actions were way beyond the bounds of proper conduct,” Battle said at an August 2014 news conference. He also described what he called threats by Breland.
“His next comment, later in the conversation was, ‘This is going to get so ugly, it’s going to be unbelievable.’ Later in the conversation, he said, ‘If y’all push us, this is going to go into a very dark place.’”
Battle hinted at bringing law enforcement to review the matter, but no charges were ever filed against Breland. Court records show the lawsuit filed in 2014 was settled and the parties asked a judge to dismiss it Tuesday.
Breland provided a statement Wednesday to WHNT News 19 regarding his support for Gov. Ivey.
He said, “I have been impressed by the leadership Kay Ivey has shown during a very difficult time for our State,” Breland said. “She has proven herself to be a friend to Madison County with her support of the Space and Rocket Center Cyber Camp building and the funding to complete the Gate 9 expansion project at Redstone Arsenal.
“I am convinced Kay Ivey is the right candidate to lead Alabama and I am proud to support her.”
Battle’s campaign also provided a statement regarding the donation, pointing to broad support he’s received.
The statement said, “Battle for Alabama has received hundreds of contributions to our campaign since Tommy Battle first announced his intentions to run for governor,” campaign spokesman Nick Lough said. “To date, we’ve raised roughly $870,000.
“We’ve said since the start of the campaign that this isn’t about running against any other candidate, it’s about running for a better Alabama. We’re fighting against special interests trying to control Alabama politics and the Montgomery corruption that’s plagued our great state for years.”