|Current Position||State Representative – 63rd District (Tuscaloosa)|
|Born||February 3rd, 1943 (age 67) – Columbiana, AL (Shelby County)|
|Education||B.S. in Chemistry / Biology, University of Alabama – University of Alabama School of Medicine|
|Military Experience||Captain in Airforce during Vietnam, Medical Officer|
|Family||Married in 1965 to wife, Dianne – Four children: John Mark, Paul, Luke, Mathew|
|Private Sector||Physician / President of Alabama Dermatology Associates|
|Entry to Public Sector||2002 elected to State House of Representatives|
|Primary Victory Margin||25% Republican primary, second to Bradley Byrne (28%). 56% – 44% over Bradley Byrne in Runoff|
|Online Presence||Facebook, Twitter, flickr, YouTube, Bentley2010|
|Key Opponent||Ron Sparks, Democratic party nominee|
It is easy to tell why voters were captivated by Robert Bentley in the Alabama republican primary. He’s the type of politician most of us hope will run because he doesn’t seem like most politicians. He’s a successful and educated man that didn’t ride anyone’s coattails to get where he is today. His drive is evident from his past, graduating with his undergraduate degree in three years and working his way through med school with a tour of duty to boot. His no-negative-ad policy is as welcome as it is savvy, and his promise to not take pay until Alabamians are fully employed is both selfless and pure genius in our challenging economy. But these are things we know about Robert Bentley. What we want to find out is what he’ll show us now that it’s just him and Sparks, and how he’ll carry over his good guy persona while distinguishing himself from Ron Sparks enough to get the base out to vote in November.
If I were a Bentley advisor, I’d tell him three things:
- Stick to the point. Jobs. Budget. Jobs.
- Appeal to moderates without abandoning the part of the republican base that isn’t already apathetic about you because of your previously perceived softness on the AEA and gambling. How? Steal the Artur Davis moderates (38% of the democratic primary voters) that aren’t ready for Sparks’ far left policies but are sick of ‘typical’ republicans.
- Scream from the rooftops about not being a career politician but a businessman willing to sacrifice time, energy and pay for the service of his state. You don’t have to be negative to remind people that Ron Sparks became commissioner of DeKalb County right out of service and community college (age 24).
But what do I know?
We can get a glimpse of at least one change Robert Bentley plans to make over the coming months by comparing his slightly redesigned website with the one from the primaries. The new website is on the left.
Did you catch it? Well, other than the much needed cleaning up of the unnecessarily cluttered top navigation bar and removal of the plastering of social media links, he took “Dr.” off of his header. We needed to be reminded of that during the crowded primary to remember that the Bentley guy was the doctor that won’t take pay until Alabama is fully employed. Now we know who he is, and it’s a good move to remove it because the whole Dr. Robert first name thing was really an embarrassing little episode. I take it this is one of the first steps of Bentley’s new staff.
We’ll see what direction Bentley takes his campaign between now and November 2nd, but maybe this second post of my “Alabama 2010” series helped you learn a little more about the republican nominee like it did for me. Next on Bentley will be totally on the issues, but before that we’ll catch up on our knowledge of Ron Sparks via another candidate profile.