Dr. Robert Bentley raising money for the Republican gubernatorial runoff

By Jonathan Hardison

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - "It's whoever has the most votes, and we're proceeding as the candidate and we'll continue to do that."

Those are the words of Tuscaloosa state representative Dr. Robert Bentley Sunday. Dr. Bentley says he's already raising money for the Republican gubernatorial runoff, even though the final vote count and the decision on who will face Bradley Byrne in that vote are still up in the air.

Byrne's campaign has stayed low-profile in the last several days while the Republican party waits to count provisional ballots and certify the vote to figure out who Byrne will face in the July 13th runoff.

Bentley leads Tim James by 208 votes at the moment. Bentley said Sunday that his campaign doesn't think there are enough provisional ballots to make up that margin, but the Tim James campaign urged caution.

"We just need to wait and see how this thing shakes out," said Brett Hall, a James campaign spokesperson.

The James camp could ask for a recount if they're willing to pay the $300,000-$600,000 bill for it.

"We're not there yet," Hall said. "You take these things 1 step at a time. And the best thing is not to get the cart before the horse at this time."

"The burden of proof will have to be on the James camp, but I don't blame them at all," Dr. Bentley said. "I have the utmost respect for Tim James. He is a fine honorable man. And what he's doing right now, I don't blame him I would be doing exactly the same thing."

The Bentley and James campaigns are taking 2 very different strategies during this waiting period. The James camp has been off the campaign trail and taking a wait-and-see approach, while Bentley has been preparing to hire more staff and begin raising what he hopes is about $1 million dollars to fund his runoff campaign.

"We're gonna work hard and we're gonna raise money, and we're gonna get back on television, and we're gonna be fine," Bentley said. "It's been great to prove people wrong, but I don't wanna just do that, I wanna be the best governor the state has ever had."

That's an ambition both the Byrne and James campaigns still hold as well.

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