Incumbent State Auditor Jim Zeigler ran circles around his opponents in the June primary, taking home 55 percent of the vote. But now that the primaries are over, the real battle has begun.
Zeigler one again faces Democratic nominee Miranda Joseph in the November 6 general election, creating a bit of a déjà vu for voters as the two ran against one another in 2014.
With that in mind, here are the five things you need to know about Jim Zeigler:
1. He’s been Alabama’s state auditor since 2014, and has served in one other state office.
Zeigler served on the Alabama Public Service commission in the 1970’s, and after running several unsuccessful campaigns for statewide offices in the early 2000’s, he was elected State Auditor in 2014.
Since then he has been working hard: announcing a budget plan to save the state’s park system in 2015 and launching a volunteer-based program within his office to investigate claims of waste, fraud and abuse within Alabama state government, to his most recent quest to solve Alabama’s infrastructure problems; he’s become a public fixture nobody expected.
2. His background is in law and he practiced law for over 20 years.
Originally from Sylacauga, Ala., Zeigler earned his JD from the Jones Law Institute at Faulkner University in Montgomery; obtaining his license in 1978. In 1993, he opened his own private practice, practicing as a mediator, arbitrator, and attorney until 2015, when he was elected State Auditor.
Zeigler recently voluntarily relinquished his law license, after deciding not to run for Alabama Attorney General.
3. He’s fought hard against government waste while in office and continually seeks to keep Alabama lawmakers in check.
The Alabama Department of Transportation’s (ALDOT) long contested “bridge to nowhere,” was a battle against wasteful spending Zeigler was willing to fight.
Calling on ALDOT’s transportation director John Cooper to answer his questions about the need for an $87 million state-funded bridge project in Baldwin County — which would be a second bridge to Orange Beach, later saying the department needed to redirect funds from the bridge to the Mobile River Bridge and the I-10 Bayway Project.
Zeigler has continued to “stir the pot” during his time in office, and seeks to continue what he sees as his job; keeping Alabama legislative officials in check. “I have a plan to turn the State Auditor’s office into a watchman against government mismanagement and waste,” Zeigler told Alabama Today. “It is starting to work.”
4. He was Student Government Association President at the University of Alabama.
While in college, Zeigler served as President of the university’s Student Government Association (SGA) from 1970 to 1971. While there, he also served on the Athletic Committee with Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.
Note: Several members of the Alabama legislature have begun their political careers in universities student government associations. Governor Kay Ivey was a member of the SGA at Auburn University and Secretary of State John Merrill served as President of the University of Alabama’s SGA from 1986 to 1987.