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Alabama: Race for Davis’ Seat to Kick Off Tomorrow

Rep. Artur Davis (D) is expected to announce his plans to run for governor at a press conference in Birmingham on Friday.

Davis has long signaled his desire to seek the state’s chief executive post. If elected, he would be Alabama’s first black governor. Gov. Bob Riley (R) has served two terms and is term-limited out of office in 2010.

Davis’ majority-black 7th district is a Democratic stronghold and the open-seat race isn’t expected to be seriously contested by Republicans. A long line of Democratic candidates is already forming, which means the real race for Davis’ seat will take place in the June 2010 primary. Among those who have expressed interest in the seat is state Rep. Earl Hilliard Jr. (D), the son of the man whom Davis beat in the 2002 Democratic primary.

Other Democrats mentioned in the race for Davis’ seat include state Sens. Rodger Smitherman and Bobby Singleton, state Rep. Merika Coleman, Birmingham attorney Terri Sewell and Jefferson County Commissioner Shelia Smoot.

Also this week, Rep. Jo Bonner (R), who had been considering throwing his hat into the race for the governorship, announced Tuesday that he will not run.

“After a lot of serious thought and consideration, as well as many heartfelt prayers … I have concluded that now is simply not the right time to launch a statewide campaign,” Bonner said.

Businessman Tim James (R) is already in the gubernatorial race. Other GOP names being mentioned are state Treasurer Kay Ivey, Attorney General Troy King, Troy University Chancellor Jack Hawkins and Bradley Byrne, chancellor of the Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education.

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