Erwin’s run shakes up Senate seat

Published 9:14 pm Monday, April 20, 2009

State Sen. Hank Erwin Sunday launched his expected bid for lieutenant governor, starting a number of political dominos, one of which fell Monday.

In front of a handful of local, Chilton County Republicans, State Rep. Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) announced his intention to replace Erwin in the State Senate.

“Running for the Senate is an opportunity to continue listening to the concerns of the citizens and be an even stronger advocate for them in Montgomery,” Ward said in a Monday release.

Erwin becomes the second District 14 senator to vacate his senate seat to run for lieutenant governor. Former State Sen. Bill Armistead won the Republican Party’s nomination in 2002 only to fall to eventual winner Lucy Baxley in the general election.

In Erwin’s announcement, which was held in at the Pelham Civic Complex in front of about 75 supporters, Erwin made a promise: “If you elect me as lieutenant governor, when I get that gavel in my hands, no one will ever again steal your money.”

Erwin was referring to the fast-tracked legislation in 2007 that led to a 62 percent pay increase for Alabama’s legislators. Erwin has refused to accept any pay increase funds and blames Lt. Gov. Jim Folsom Jr. for selling out the people of Alabama.

“There is a moment in every politician’s career that is a defining moment. You can either stand up for what’s right, or you can back down. He (Folsom) could have gaveled it to a stop, but he didn’t do that. Instead of standing up for the people of Alabama, he stood for his buddies and his cronies and made sure they got their money,” Erwin said.

Folsom, widely expected to run for governor in 2010, announced earlier this month he plans to seek re-election as lieutenant governor instead.

As for Ward, who Erwin called his “heir apparent” during Sunday’s ceremonies, he is an attorney working in economic development and has represented District 49 in the Alabama House of Representatives since being elected in Nov. 2002.

Ward is married to the former Julie Cain, and together have a daughter, Riley.

— Shelby County Reporter editor Jan Griffey contributed to this report.