Sue Bell Cobb, who served as Chief Justice of Alabama from 2007 to 2011, announced last week that she is running for Governor of the state. She becomes the second Alabama Chief Justice in as many months to seek an elected position in another branch.
Cobb has considerable campaign experience from her days on the judiciary. In 2006, she was involved in the most expensive judicial race in the nation, spending more than $2.6 million to win the Chief Justiceship. Since leaving the court, she has spoken out against money in judicial politics, although not against judicial elections themselves.
Two additional observations. First, Cobb appears to be a deeply religious woman, and her announcement and website are rife with religious themes. Those same themes came through during her 2006 judicial campaign.
Second, Cobb had this to say about her retirement from the court system in 2011: “My chief obligation as the top administrator of the court system was to secure adequate funding from the legislature for the judiciary. I became very concerned that, because of the partisanship within the legislature, I would be unable to succeed in that most important responsibility.”
It will be interesting to see if, and how, these themes manifest themselves in the upcoming gubernatorial race.