MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) – For the first time since 2002, Libertarians are on the ballot in Alabama, and their gubernatorial candidate is taking a unique campaign approach.
Jimmy Blake is biking across Alabama all month, stopping in towns along the way to talk to voters.
“I’m 71 years old, and I’m still active. That’s what we really ought to do. If people want to be healthy, I think having political officials instead of handing out cash, show people how to live,” Blake said at a stop in Montgomery.
The physician and former Birmingham City Councilman wants people to have a different choice outside of red or blue. If elected, he says he’d prioritize more market forces in education, lowering state spending, freezing government hiring and lowering taxes.
“How many people out there feel like they’re getting their money’s worth out of that? I think most people don’t. And if they don’t, they need to start thinking about a different approach in terms of politics.,” Blake said.
Blake acknowledges his party won’t have the same backing as Republicans or Democrats but says the goal is staying on the ballot.
“I’m confident we will retain ballot access. That’ll give us the same kind of head start that Democrats and Republicans do to get organized, recruit candidates and raise the money that is necessary,” Blake said.
Blake will be up against incumbent Gov. Kay Ivey, who just this week was listed by Morning Consult as the governor with the 7th highest approval ratings in the country.
Ivey was not available for an interview but in a statement, she touted low unemployment, infrastructure investments and record funding for schools under her watch, saying “The best is yet to come.”
Democratic candidate Yolanda Flowers was not immediately available for an interview Thursday.
Political analyst Steve Flowers estimates the Libertarian candidates will get between 2 to 3% of the vote.
“If the Libertarian were not running, if Jimmy Blake were not running, she’d get 63, but she’ll get 60-40,” Flowers said.
Flowers says Blake does have some name recognition that could help his vote count.
“He’s a colorful character. I think Blake has got some name identification, and he’s such a colorful person historically and currently that he’ll notch a couple percentage points. He’ll get the maximum the Libertarians can get,” Flowers said.
This morning Blake was headed to Tuskegee, but he’ll be biking around the state all month with plans to finish in Birmingham on Oct. 28.