Money often speaks louder than words when it comes to politics. With Kay Ivey as the presumptive frontrunner in Alabama’s 2018 gubernatorial race, the state’s power brokers are investing significant dollars in the lieutenant governor’s contest as a political insurance policy.

Whether it’s concerns over Ivey’s health or simply the reality of former Governor Robert Bentley’s resignation, the money is flowing into a race that has previously been a back-burner consideration for Alabama’s political class.

In the 2014 cycle, Kay Ivey raised $1,023,389.74 to primary challenger Stan Cooke’s $198,350.

Heading to the primary on June 5, 2018, Twinkle Cavanaugh, Will Ainsworth, and Rusty Glover have combined to raise a reported $2,255,029.81 in the 2018 election cycle thus far. Add in contributions to Mary Scott Hunter’s short bid for the office, and the race is roughly twice as valuable as the 2014 cycle. More importantly, the race has two $1 million plus contenders in Cavanaugh and Ainsworth.

The political battle lines are even more interesting.

The Business Council of Alabama’s ProgressPAC is behind Cavanaugh to the tune of $40,000. Drummond Company, Inc.–a Birmingham coal company–dropped $50,000 in direct support for Cavanaugh. Maynard, Cooper & Gale’s MCG PAC split the field with $10,000 to Cavanaugh and $5,000 to Ainsworth. PACs associated with the Alabama Forestry Association have gone in big for Ainsworth with at total of $133,400.

Those numbers are multiples higher than the less-competitive 2014 cycle. For example, ProgressPAC’s 2014 contribution to Ivey’s lieutenant governor bid was only $5,000.

None of these amounts include funds funneled through Alabama’s campaign finance shell game. For example, Drummond Company donated $30,000 to ENPAC on March 27, 2018. ENPAC subsequently gave $5,000 to Cavanaugh on April 26, 2018. That’s one example with a relatively simple paper trail, but chasing down all the contribution paths that end up in a candidate’s coffer isn’t an easy task in Alabama.

The bottom line is that Alabama’s big political players are shelling out the cash for their preferred candidate to be the next in line for gubernatorial succession. To be clear, nobody is seriously concerned that Ivey is going to resign or be removed for ethical lapses. Either the lieutenant governor’s race suddenly became interesting or Alabama’s political insiders know something the average Alabamian doesn’t.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Hightower has pressed the issue over Ivey’s health by challenging the field to release their personal medical records. It doesn’t appear that Ivey plans on doing so. That doesn’t seem to bother Alabama’s power players. They’re content with a political life insurance policy on Ivey even if the premium is much higher than it’s been in the past.

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