MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Alabama political parties have opened qualifying for the 2018 elections. Candidates began filing paperwork with the Alabama Republican Party and the Alabama Democratic Party Monday morning.
Governor Kay Ivey
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey officially announced she will seek her first full term as governor by officially qualifying for a 2018 gubernatorial run.
Ivey told those in attendance to her signing that she's running because she wants to continue to clean up Alabama's government and to help families statewide.
Ivey became the second female governor in state history after former governor Robert Bentley resigned in 2017. Since taking over the office, Ivey has overseen the state's declining unemployment numbers to historic lows.
Justice Tom Parker
Justice Tom Parker qualified Monday to run for Chief Justice. Parker was elected to the Alabama Supreme Court in 2004 and reelected in 2010 and 2016. He became the founding executive director of the Alabama Family Alliance, later renamed the Alabama Policy Institute.
During Monday's signing, Parker talked about his conservative values and how he has been "attacked" because of those values. He also mentioned The Southern Poverty Law Center's recent attempt to remove him from the supreme court.
"We have seen recently that Clandestine's operation of liberals came into this state and they will attempt to use the blue cities to take over this red state," Parker said. "I attend to fight back against them,"
Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh
President of the Alabama Public Service Commission and Republican Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh has announced she has officially qualified and will be running for Lieutenant Governor in the 2018 election cycle.
"It is important for our state to have a strong conservative fighting for us and providing leadership in the Lieutenant Governor's office," Cavanaugh said. "Alabama needs to see conservative solutions when it comes to jobs, the economy, infrastructure and rural broadband, education, eliminating government waste, and much more. It is time for Alabama to take charge of its own education system and produce a top-notch, trained workforce. With education as a priority, we will grow existing businesses and expand industrial recruitment. I look forward to continuing to lead on job creation in the Lt. Governor's office."
According to Cavanaugh's office, she led by example at the PSC by refusing a state car, and over the past seven years by reducing overall spending by 30 percent, and saving the taxpayers over $50 million. In 2017 alone, the PSC returned a record $13 million to the General Fund.
"This election will be about our Alabama families," Cavanaugh said. "With proven conservative leadership, together, we will build a brighter Alabama for our children and grandchildren."
Sue Bell Cobb
Democrat Sue Bell Cobb is looking for a return to state politics. Monday, she filed papers to officially qualify for the governor's race.
Cobb, who is marking her fourth run for statewide office, says a lottery will be her initial primary effort as governor.
"I'm calling it the Lifetime Learner Lottery because if Sue Bell Cobb is elected when I'm elected, we're going to encourage the legislature, advocate with the legislature to pass a lottery."
Cobb says the money from the lottery would be spent in a three-pronged way: Childcare and pre-K with a fully-funded K-4, meeting career tech needs for high schools and meeting the gap on Pell grants for college students.
"We're going to have around $300 million annually to tell the world Alabama is open for business," Cobb said.
Cobb was the first person to formally announce her candidacy for governor "and I thought it was extremely important for everybody in Alabama to know that I am this serious about this race," she said.
Until the December's special election win by Doug Jones to the U.S. Senate, Cobb was the last Democrat to win a statewide office. She was the first female chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court but resigned in 2011 citing the partisan way judges are selected and funding problems.
"I think people are ready," Cobb said of the climb back to a statewide office as a Democrat.
Multiple other candidates are expected to qualify for races before the Feb. 9 deadline. The official primaries are in June.