State elections are a little over a year away and we have a first look at some potential candidates who may challenge Governor Bentley in an exclusive one-on-one interview with Political Analyst Steve Flowers.
Political Analyst Steve Flowers says the 2014 race for Governor could start very soon.
"Candidates can not raise money today but they can in about two months, about the first of June," he says. "The law is you can start raising money one year prior to election and the election is interpreted to be mean the primary."
Flowers says Bradley Byrne, one of the men Robert Bentley beat in 2010, could run again, perhaps this time more aggressively.
"I think he made the decision that the day he lost to Governor Bentley in the runoff, he set course to run against him four years later."
Flowers also says another 2010 republican candidate, Tim James, may also run again.
"Tim James ran third and thought he should have been in the runoff last time and he may want to take a shot at it."
Flowers tells Alabama News Network that there is one potential candidate who may surprise some people.
"Speculation is there's possibility that Bob Riley may want to come back for a third term," he explains. "He can legally do that. He misses being out in the spotlight. He liked being Governor but it wouldn't be an easy race for him. He didn't leave on top."
Flowers says Bentley's poll numbers are very strong and it may be hard for any candidate to beat him. But the Alabama Education Association, a group upset with the new law that gives tax credits to parents to shift their children from failing public schools into private schools, could play a role in finding someone who can.
"That's the only group that could be angered enough to make a kamikaze mission statement against Bentley," says Flowers. "To say look, we supported you four years ago. He probably is Governor because AEA took on Bradley Byrne. They attacked him with a vengeance."
Flowers says that, among other issues, may still be on the minds of voters come election season. As far as Democrats go, Flowers doesn't see a Democrat winning the election but says a representative from Gadsden is making a name for himself.
"Craig Ford is really serious about running. I think Craig may very well make the race. He's a great guy and would be a good candidate."
Flowers also mentioned Jefferson County's Tony Petelos and Secretary of State Beth Chapman as possible candidates.
The primary for both Republicans and Democrats is June 2014 but candidates can start raising campaign money in two months.