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Incumbent Gov. Kay Ivey wins GOP primary in Alabama

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey delivers her state of the state address at the State Capitol building in Montgomery, Ala., Jan. 11, 2022. Ivey faced eight challengers in the Republican primary for governor
FILE - Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey delivers her state of the state address at the State Capitol building in Montgomery, Ala., Tuesday evening, Jan. 11, 2022. In a pair of campaign ads this GOP primary season, Ivey falsely declares the election was stolen from Donald Trump and accuses the federal government of “shipping illegal immigrants" to the state. (Mickey Welsh/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP, File)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Incumbent Gov. Kay Ivey has won the crowded Republican primary for governor in Alabama, according to The Associated Press.

Out of eight total competitors, Ivey's two biggest rivals, Tim James and Lynda Blanchard have never been elected to public office. However, Blanchard was appointed in 2019 by then-President Donald Trump to serve as an Ambassador to Slovenia and James is the son of former Alabama governor, Fob James.

James, Blanchard and other challengers attacked Ivey during the campaign for not being conservative enough. Dean Odle, another primary candidate for governor called her, "a Democrat in Republican clothing."

But Ivey has a strong conservative record. This year, Ivey signed one of the most restrictive laws around transgender care — criminalizing gender-affirming treatments for minors.

"I believe very strongly that if the Good Lord made you a boy, you are a boy, and if he made you a girl, you are a girl," Ivey said when she signed the legislation.

She also signed a law in 2022 to allow Alabamians to be able to carry a concealed gun without a permit.

In 2019, she signed the "Human Life Protection Act," which would outlaw abortion in Alabama if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

And though her messaging waivered at times, she also had made false claims about widespread 2020 election fraud.

Speaking at her watch party in Montgomery, Ala., before the race was called by the AP, Ivey said:

"Tonight marks the end of one campaign and the beginning of another. And y'all, this is the most important one yet. The Democrats are going to do everything they can try to take back power in this state and we cannot let them reverse the progress we've made in Alabama."

A former educator, Ivey, who is 77, was sworn in as governor of Alabama after her predecessor resigned in 2017. She was then elected to a full term in 2018 and is seen as having an easy path to victory this November. Her Democratic challenger is unknown at this point — that primary race heads to a runoff. Alabama hasn't elected a Democrat for governor in nearly a quarter-century.

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