Race for governor beginning to take shape

By Melanie Posey

MONTGOMERY, AL (WBRC) - It is down to two for Alabama Governor.  Dr. Robert Bentley will square off against Ron Sparks in the November general election.

This is after Bentley beat Republican challenger Bradley Byrne in Tuesday's runoff.  He captured 56-percent of the vote.  Ron Sparks had already won the Democratic nomination in June.

On Wednesday, both men wasted no time in getting the final leg of the race underway.  Both touted reducing Alabama's unemployment as their top priority.  And both called for positive campaigns.

"It's okay to criticize my record, my policies, have concerns about the decisions I've made as a public official," Sparks told reporters.  "But let's keep it above board and keep it about the issues."

Bentley echoed those sentiments.  "They want to hear about the issues," Bentley commented, speaking about voters.  "And I am committed to keeping my campaign positive and Ron Sparks is going to do the same."    

One of the biggest issues the winner will face is the Gulf Coast Oil Crisis.  On Wednesday, Sparks said he has asked the attorney general to bring both he and Bentley up to speed on all legal and non legal issues affecting the state on that matter.

"What you've got to remember is one of us is going to be dealing that problem for the next four years and longer and I believe the more the nominees have been briefed the better off the state will be."

Bentley says one of his efforts will be to reunite the state's Republican Party. It became divided during the primary phase of the race.  But Bentley compared it to a family fight.  "It's like brothers and sisters who fight but at Christmas, opening presents together.   We're going to work to heal the party."

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