(WIAT) — An Alabama lawmaker believes Governor Robert Bentley will resign in the next several weeks.
Rep. Ed Henry (R – Hartselle) voiced his prediction to a Dothan reporter Monday morning.
Henry told CBS42 News that if the Alabama House of Representatives moves on its articles of impeachment, “the governor will either have resigned, or the impeachment committee will be moving at a very rapid pace.”
Henry was the first state lawmaker to launch efforts to impeach Bentley last year after allegations of an affair surfaced between the governor and one of his top advisors.
Bentley denied having a physical affair, but his denial was not enough to dissuade prosecutors.
The House Impeachment Committee, the Alabama Ethics Commission and a special prosecutor appointed by Attorney General Steve Marshall are investigating whether Bentley committed a crime by using state resources to cover up the alleged affair.
CBS 42 political analyst Steve Flowers called Henry an “off-the-wall” legislator on the far right wing, explaining that Henry’s prediction should be taken with a grain of salt.
“I don’t think the rank-and-file members of the House — the mainstream members — are thinking that they will vote for impeachment without some evidence of illegal activity, which will come from the Attorney General’s office,” Flowers said.
Flowers pointed out that so far, no evidence of wrongdoing has surfaced.
That could change on April 5, when the Alabama Ethics Commission will meet.
“The reason some people suggest that (Bentley) may resign before April 5th is he anticipates an adverse ruling from the Ethics Commission,” Flowers said. “Therefore history records it as he resigned for poor health rather than illegal activities.”
Bentley’s health has made headlines in recent weeks.
The Governor’s office said Bentley was treated for an irregular heartbeat, and said that the issue is not impacting his job.
Despite the upcoming Ethics Commission meeting, Flowers said the real deciding factor for a possible resignation likely lies within the Office of the Attorney General.
“The Ethics Commission may be a moot question,” Flowers said. “All they can say is, “There’s an ethics rule that could be a cause or reason of breaking the ethics law. Therefore we’re going to turn this over to the Attorney Generals office.’ (The Ethics Commission) is not a prosecuting office. The only prosecuting office is the Attorney General’s office.”
Regarding Henry’s remarks Monday, Bentley’s office released the following statement:
“Governor Bentley was twice elected by the people of this state by overwhelming margins. Since that time he has created over 92,000 new jobs, established the largest road and bridge project in the state’s history, saved taxpayers over one-billion dollars annually by right-sizing government and expanded access to Alabama’s top nationally ranked Pre-K program across the state and into some of our most impoverished communities. Even now, Governor Bentley is seeing to it that Alabama’s prison system is undergoing a fundamental transformation, once again solving a decades old problem in our state. Governor Bentley has not stopped working tirelessly, along with his Cabinet and Staff and local partners to implement an ambitious agenda, his Great State 2019 Plan, to improve the lives of all Alabamians. As a physician and Alabama’s Governor, he is instrumental, along with his governor colleagues, on the federal landscape in shaping the anticipated Repeal and Replacement of the Affordable Care Act. Governor Bentley takes very seriously his call to serve as Alabama’s 53rd Governor, and considers it the greatest honor of his life. 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.'”