Democrats face off to face likely GOP opponent Bentley - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Democrats face off to face likely GOP opponent Bentley

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Kevin Bass Kevin Bass
Parker Griffith Parker Griffith
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Perhaps the most daunting uphill battle for Democrats outside of the state legislature is the race to challenge the inevitable GOP nominee, Gov. Robert Bentley.

Bentley enjoys extremely high approval ratings despite a sluggish state economy and disagreements with legislative leadership.

The two Democrats vying to challenge the governor have taken vastly different paths to reach the primary.

Kevin Bass, the clear underdog in the race, is a former minor league baseball player who spent time playing in the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox organizations.

After injury forced him out of baseball, he later founded his own baseball equipment company.

The prohibitive favorite in the race is Parker Griffith, the former Congressman who represented Alabama's 5th Congressional District in North Alabama as both a Democrat and Republican from 2008-2010.

Griffith is trained as an oncologist but has been involved in politics at the state and national level for about fifteen years.

Both Griffith and Bass have plans to expand Medicaid and to establish lotteries to support education.

"We have to expand Medicaid," Griffith says. "It will create jobs and it will help our citizens get healthcare that many have never had."

Bass says when it comes to job creation "education is the key because then our people can get better jobs."

Griffith has a specific plan for Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, saying that he wants to use the federal money in a "private way" by having the newly eligible patients spend that money on private insurance plans.

Alabama's Republican governor has refused to expand Medicaid to the more than 300,000 eligible Alabamians, insisting that the state can't expand a broken system, and even demonized the program saying at one point "the closest thing to eternal life is a government entitlement program."

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