Robert Bentley’s office denies resignation rumors

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If Gov. Robert Bentley has anything to say about it, he’s not going to be leaving office before his term is up.

A spokesperson for the governor on Monday confirmed Bentley’s plans to stay in office, denying resignation rumors the embattled Republican would vacate his office early.

“Gov. Bentley takes very seriously his call to serve as Alabama’s 53rd Governor, and considers it the greatest honor of his life,” spokesperson Yasamie August said in a statement to AL.com. “He has plans only to continue to serve the people of this state, and as he stated so clearly in his 2017 State of the State address, to “finish the race.”

The rumor mill surrounding a potential Bentley resignation began last week when the 74-year-old governor was twice treated at the hospital for an irregular heartbeat. The visits lead to speculation that stress is causing his health to suffer, despite the fact his office has said the medical issues have not impacted his work.

Fueling the rumors further, Hartselle-Republican state Rep. Ed Henry in an interview with WTVY said he believes Bentley would resign no later than next month to avoid possible impeachment.

“From what I’m hearing I would expect by mid-April that the governor either will have resigned or the impeachment committee will be moving at a very rapid pace,” Henry told WTVY.

Bentley, 73, last spring admitted making inappropriate remarks to his senior political adviser but denied accusations of an affair with her and of interfering in law enforcement business, accusations both raised by his fired law enforcement secretary.

Following the news, twenty-three representatives, led by Rep. Henry, signed articles of impeachment, accusing Bentley of willful neglect of duty and corruption in office.

The legislative probe officially began in June 2016, but it has been off to a slow start, as lawmakers find their way through an impeachment process that has not used in a century.

In November, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee suspended impeachment hearings per the state’s attorney general’s office, as they are conducting a related investigation.

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