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Ag Commissioner race gets personal 

By WILL WHATLEY, Alabama Daily News

MONTGOMERY, Ala. –  An under-the-radar race for the Republican nomination for Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries has been brought to the forefront after explosive new allegations were levied against one of the candidates.

In two different ads, Republican state senator Gerald Dial from Lineville accuses his opponent Rick Pate of domestic violence against his former wife.

“Character matters,” the first ad says in its opening. “Rick Pate was accused by his wife of committing violence against her.”

The ad continues by saying a judge had issued a restraining order against Pate because his now former wife Carolyn Dudley “feared for her life and believed his violence would continue” before touting Dial’s Republican bonafides.

Pate’s campaign responded Wednesday with an ad of its own featuring the ex-wife in question saying Dial’s ad is “an untruth, a lie and a distortion of the facts.”

“I would vote for a man with honor. I would vote for Rick Pate,” Dudley states.

Asked about the tenor the campaign has taken, Pate said it was politics as usual.

“I intended to run a clean race, and highlight my background as a farmer, an Agribusinessman and a Republican,” Pate said.

“Senator Dial, typical of career politicians decided to drag this race into the gutter and bring up divorce records that were resolved over 30 years ago. Career politicians like Dial are the problem. I intend to be part of the solution”

[Watch the ads HERE]

The Pate campaign also has a video on its Facebook page of state treasurer Young Boozer giving his endorsement.

“We need good people with good skills, with good experience, and with good character, to serve the people of the state of Alabama,” Boozer says in the video. “Rick Pate is that person.”

Boozer adds that he and Pate have been members of the same rotary club for the past three decades.

The runoff election takes place July 17. There is no Democrat in the race for the general election in November.

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