KIMBERLY — A politically-active local minister is making a run for Alabama's second-highest elected office.
Dr. Stan Cooke, the senior pastor of Kimberly Church of God, announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor on Tuesday morning, during a ceremony on the State Capitol steps in Montgomery.
That very building is the focal point of “the root of all of Alabama’s problems,” Cooke said in his speech.
“Our state’s capital has become disconnected from the people and become the seat of a ‘buddy-club’ system that functions for its own benefit,” Cooke said. “Individuals drunk with power have become ‘God-father’ power-brokers that want to hand-pick the candidates that the public will vote for and that these power-brokers can control.”
Cooke will face an uphill battle as he takes on incumbent Kay Ivey, a longtime figure in the state GOP apparatus who previously served two terms as state treasurer. Ivey has already secured the endorsement of most of the top Republican office-holders, including Senate Majority Leader Jabo Waggoner of Vestavia Hills.
Cooke drew sharp contrasts between himself an Ivey, in an effort to distance her from the conservative GOP base.
“The current lieutenant governor was raised a Democrat, ran for office as a Democrat, became a bureaucrat and is now a ‘Republacrat,’” Cooke said. “She only changed to the Republican Party when it became obvious that it would be the only way to get elected in this state.”
It's not the first time that Cooke has taken on a political heavyweight. In 2010 he ran against longtime incumbent Spencer Bachus for the Sixth District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, but lost by a 3-to-1 margin in the primary.
Cooke has been pastor at Kimberly Church of God for nine years, according to the church website. He and his wife Michelle have two children, one a student at UAB and the other attending Mortimer Jordan High.