MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Four Republican candidates are vying for a position on the ballot for the office of Attorney General, a race packed with special interest money.
Incumbent Steve Marshall is asking Alabama voters to allow him to continue the job he started more than a year ago, when appointed to office by former Governor Bentley.
"We have excellence in the legal work we do," Marshall stated. "I am really proud of the lawyers, those issues never stop, we have to be vigilant going forward."
Marshall supports capital punishment, and most recently has enjoined in lawsuits regarding DACA and against an opioid manufacturer. A privacy clause wouldn't allow Marshall to comment on the direction or future scope of the lawsuit.
"The federal judge has given us additional information we haven't had before," explained Marshall. "Particularly what's called ARCOS data, which gives us information about the number of opioids coming into Alabama, where they are going, and the ultimate quantities coming to certain regions. As a result of that evaluation we will have the opportunity to determine whether or not there's an addition of additional defendants or additional claims."
Marshall says fighting public corruption is a priority for his office, and he will continue the work of the Special Prosecutions Division.
"Lots can be put out there as to whether people are leaving or people are coming," Marshall stated. "The reality is we have lawyers that are sought out by other agencies and others that may retire, we have not changed any priorities."
Marshall says he feels most comfortable as a prosecutor and least comfortable being a politician as he campaigns for office.
"I sought this job because I love the work," he said. "This is what I'm most passionate about. Not only to be that voice for victims and law enforcement, I'm truly bred to be in a courtroom and train lawyers about how to try cases. The opportunity and privilege to serve as Attorney General is the epitome for me, it's a privilege as a practicing lawyer."
Marshall has come under fire in negative advertisements, and denies having a paid lobbyist, exchanging a plea deal with Bentley for his appointment. Still, he refuses to go negative.
"We want to share with people our vision for the state, what I stand for and what I want to do," Marshall explained. "At some point you have to fight back and we are going to do that with facts."
Marshall has raised nearly $2 million; more than $8 hundred thousand is PAC money.
Alice Martin says her experience sets her apart from the other candidates, serving at U.S. Attorney, Chief Deputy AG, and time in private practice. Her platform includes fighting public corruption and expanding the office's consumer protection division.
"On day one, I want to shore up the public corruption unit, which has been devastated over the last 14 months under the current leadership," Martin said. "They have lost down from 17 people to 9 which is my understanding….there's a big job to do for the AG in protecting consumers in Alabama. The Consumer Affairs area has very few people in it, I want to shore those two areas up."
Martin is a proponent of capital punishment.
"Do I think it's a deterrent, no I don't," Martin explained. "I don't think people think 'oh gosh I could lose my life in another 20 years if I do this', no I don't."
Martin is looking for leadership from the executive branch on issues like electronic bingo, and with regard to this race, she believes gaming money is buying favor in the race.
"I think the public needs to know the gaming interests are trying to buy the attorney general's office," Martin stated.
Martin has raised nearly $700 thousand; PAC money makes up for about fifty thousand.
Troy King served one term as AG, and says he has unfinished business.
"We are going to go back and finish what we started," King stated.
King is concerned about how the opioid epidemic is being handled; he wants to direct funding to help those battling drug addiction.
"We've got to go after the people who are addicting our kids," King stated. "[Marshall] did it wrong, he sued one drug company that makes 2 percent of the drugs in Ohio."
King sees fighting public corruption as one of the chief issues in the Attorney General's Office, but isn't clear on whether he will maintain the current Special Prosecutions Division.
"Special compared to what," King asked. "All crime is bad, it's a betrayal of the constitution."
King says he will follow the rule of law as it pertains to electronic bingo, and denies having any personal or monetary interests in gaming.
He calls the current set of ethics laws bad, and seeks a rewrite on the whole package of laws.
"We have bad ethics laws," King stated.
King has raised more than $1 million, with nearly half a million in PAC funds.
Chess Bedsole says his first order of business as Attorney General would be to reduce the state's violent crime rate. He cites multiple statistics on homicide rates and drug issues that he believes show Alabama is headed down a treacherous path.
"I believe it's time to turn the page on corruption and fight violent crime," Bedsole stated. "This is the kind of crime we end up with when everyone has spent the last three years reading in the paper about the governor's girlfriend."
Bedsole doesn't support the state's sentencing guidelines for criminal cases, and he has ideas on prison reform.
"We have to find a way to separate the [general population] out from those who are in there for life," explained Bedsole. "The only thing they learn how to do in prison is commit more crimes."
He believes the state is missing out on sizable, needed federal grants for law enforcement and prosecution.
"We are leaving money on the table on these federal grants," Bedsole explained. "The reason we are leaving the money is because we don't ask for it, and we don't ask for it because we don't have a plan of how to spend it."
Bedsole says he would evaluate all sectors of the opioid crisis from public health to law enforcement to determine a path forward.
"This crisis is bigger than what we can do individually," he stated.
Bedsole has infused $1.1 million into his race; he's raised nearly three hundred thousand with five hundred in PAC money