Robert Bentley has resigned from his position as governor of Alabama. He stands accused of committing multiple offenses, ranging from campaign-finance violations to misuse of state police and even to intimidation tactics, to cover up an affair (of some kind) with his top aide, Rebekah Mason. About an hour ago, he pleaded guilty at the local jail to two counts of “failing to disclose” unnamed misdeeds, and was released on $300 bonds on each count.
Bentley, a Republican, will be succeeded by Lt. Governor Kay Ivey, also a Republican. Nearly 30 years ago, another former GOP governor of Alabama, Guy Hunt, resigned due to ethics charges. A more recent Alabama governor, liberal Democrat Don Siegelman, served several years in a federal prison for bribery-related charges that came to light after he lost his reelection bid in 20002. Just last year, the GOP speaker of the House, Mike Hubbard, was found guilty on twelve counts relating to various misuses of state offices. And Alabama’s sitting chief justice, Roy Moore, is suspended for the rest of his term, due to ethics charges resulting from his challenge to federal court orders on same sex marriage.
So Alabama is experiencing hideous political difficulties. Its unemployment rate also has crept up, to among the worst in the nation.
On the other hand, Alabama also boasts a few of the fastest growing counties in the country, and it has attracted copious investments from the automotive, aerospace, and ship-building industries in recent years.
Stay tuned to see how quickly the state can get back on its feet.