Secretary of State John Merrill on Thursday confirmed in a memo former Florida governor and 2016 GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush will be on hand November 7th in Tuscaloosa as the Louisiana State University Tigers take on the Crimson Tide of Alabama in a major SEC matchup.
“We are excited to have Governor Bush back in our state! Seven of the top ten Republican candidates have made campaign stops in Alabama, which is unprecedented for our state,” said Merrill in a news release.
Merrill said the campaign stop is a sign of the effectiveness of Alabama’s recent decision to move up its primary date to join the so-called “SEC primary,” which will see Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and possibly North Carolina join Alabama in holding their presidential primary election on March 1.
“When this many Presidential candidates are choosing to visit and re-visit Alabama, it is proof the SEC Primary is working,” said Merrill. “The main goal of this effort is to create an environment that forces candidates to appeal to an even larger and more complete constituency than they currently do, and I am proud to see our state receiving the attention it deserves.”
Merrill, the state’s chief elections official, disclaimed that the memo was not intended to show preference for Bush – currently running third in Alabama according to recent polling, behind Donald Trump and Ben Carson – but rather to increase awareness of rising political activity throughout the state.
Merill also noted in his memo that former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will also campaign in Alabama on October 17 at the Alabama Democratic Party‘s semi-annual convention in Birmingham.
Notable presidential candidates stopping in the Yellowhammer State along the campaign trail have included Trump, Carson, Sen. Ted Cruz, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Sen. Rand Paul, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on the Republican side, plus Sen. Bernie Sanders on the Democratic ticket.