Ivey switches to Alabama lt. gov. race

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC/WSFA) - State Treasurer Kay Ivey announced Wednesday her decision to withdraw from the race for governor and instead run for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor.

Ivey announced her decision at a news conference Wednesday afternoon at the state Republican headquarters in Homewood.

"It's official: I just qualified as a Republican candidate for Lt. Governor. The fight for conservative values goes on, in a new arena," Ivey posted on her Twitter feed.

Ivey, whose is term-limited as treasurer, had trailed in several polls in the governor's race. A survey released Tuesday by Public Policy Polling" showed her with 10 percent of support, tied for a distant third in the field of candidates.

Ivey said in recent weeks that friends and advisors had suggested she consider switching to the Lt. Gov. race, a suggestion she said at first, "...was an unequivocal ‘No!'" She said several compelling reasons helped her change her mind.

"Firstly, the Republican gubernatorial field is crowded this year. All the candidates are trying to appeal to the same voting base with the same philosophical themes. Given the all-consuming coverage the gambling issue is commanding in the media recently, it's been difficult for any of us to effectively get our conservative messages out. And, unfortunately, to really stand out from the pack, I foresee some candidates launching negative ads against each other. I absolutely refuse to do that against brethren in my Republican ‘family,'" Ivey said.

"Secondly, with two months left until the June 1st primary election, my campaign's internal polling shows the race for the Republican gubernatorial nomination remains wide open. But a wide open race is sure to result in a wildly expensive race."

Ivey joins State Senator Hank Erwin of Montevallo, Gene Ponder, and Dean Young as candidates seeking the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor. The winner of the Republican primary in June will challenge the Democratic incumbent, Jim Folsom, Jr., in the November general election.

Copyright 2010 WBRC. WSFA 12 News contributed to this report. All rights reserved.