Jo Bonner holds press conference to clear Jim Bonner confusion

Jo Bonner_Jim Bonner
For U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner; PSC candidate Jim Bonner

Former Congressman Jo Bonner held a press conference in Mobile, Ala. on Friday to clear up any confusion for voters concerning what has become a controversial Public Service Commission race.

The confusion comes from Jo Bonner and current PSC candidate Jim Bonner sharing a last name. “To my knowledge, we are not related,” Jo Bonner said at the press conference, according to “I do not support him and resent the views he’s expressed in social media.”

“I am not voting for the gentleman from North Alabama because, in my opinion, he’s taken to social media and he’s disparaged women, minorities and other groups as well. This doesn’t represent the best of Alabama,” Jo Bonner continued.

Jim Bonner, a controversial Republican candidate for the PSC position is unexpectedly polling ahead of his opponent, six-year incumbent Jeremy Oden. Many attribute his lead in the polls to name confusion; but he doesn’t think so.

“The short and accurate answer would be no; I do not believe I am leading because people have mistaken me for someone else,” Jim Bonner said. “People are struggling with the idea that a candidate with no special interests money could be leading in the polls. The truth is I lead by the widest margin in fraternal circles where people know my opponent and myself intimately.”

But Jo Bonner said he’s been receiving calls from supporters, asking what they can do to help with his race; “I’ve been blessed over the years to know people around the state,” he said during the conference. “I had no interest in coming to Mobile for a press conference, but people have been so good to me over the years and to my family. I’m not trying to get involved in politics again. I am just trying to clear the air for those who might want to vote for someone who they think we may be related. We’re not.”

Jo Bonner currently serves as vice-chancellor of economic development at the University of Alabama Systems, a position he has held since 2013 when he resigned from Congress, and does not plan on returning to politics any time soon; while Jim Bonner is battling his own mess with the Alabama Republican Party.

The ALGOP censured him on Tuesday for his statements on both social media and the radio, “Mr. Bonner’s recent comments on his social media as well as radio shows are not condoned by the Alabama Republican Party,” said ALGOP Chairman Terry Lathan in the release. “Mr. Bonner is welcome to his opinions and his first amendment right of free speech. The Alabama Republican Party is welcome to our opinion as well, and we reject the egregious comments Mr. Bonner continues to spew.”

The party also said they will not be certifying the votes for Jim Bonner. The decision, announced on Thursday means he won’t get the party’s nomination even if he’s the leading vote-getter in Tuesday’s primary. On Friday Jim Bonner said he is appealing the ALGOP’s decision; but it may not matter.

Lathan said Bonner’s request for an appeal hearing won’t be considered until Aug. 25, months after the June 5 primary.

Jim Bonner faces against incumbent Jeremy Oden in Tuesday’s primary.