Lucy Baxley

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Lucy Baxley
Lucy Baxley.jpg
President of the Alabama Public Service Commission
In office
January 19, 2009 – January 21, 2013
GovernorBob Riley
Robert J. Bentley
Preceded byJim Sullivan
Succeeded byTwinkle Andress Cavanaugh
28th Lieutenant Governor of Alabama
In office
January 20, 2003 – January 15, 2007
GovernorBob Riley
Preceded bySteve Windom
Succeeded byJim Folsom
37th Treasurer of Alabama
In office
January 16, 1995 – January 20, 2003
GovernorFob James
Don Siegelman
Preceded byGeorge Wallace
Succeeded byKay Ivey
Personal details
Lucy Mae Bruner

(1937-12-21)December 21, 1937
Pansey, Alabama, U.S.
DiedOctober 14, 2016(2016-10-14) (aged 78)
Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Bill Baxley (1974–1987)
Jim Smith (1996–2016)
EducationAuburn University, Montgomery

Lucy Mae Bruner Baxley Smith (December 21, 1937 – October 14, 2016) was an American politician who served from 2003 to 2007 as the 28th Lieutenant Governor of Alabama and from 2009 until 2013 as President of the Alabama Public Service Commission.[1] She was the first woman to hold the state's office of lieutenant governor.[2] In 2006, she was the unsuccessful Democratic nominee for governor. In 2008, Lucy Baxley was elected President of the Alabama Public Service Commission, and was the only Democrat to win statewide that year.[1] Until Democrat Doug Jones's victory over Republican Roy Moore in the 2017 U.S. Senate special election, Baxley was the most recent Democrat to hold statewide office in Alabama.[3]

Early life[edit]

Baxley was born Lucy Mae Bruner in 1937 near rural Pansey, located near the larger city of Dothan in Houston County in southeastern Alabama.[4] Baxley attended Auburn University at Montgomery but did not graduate.

Political career[edit]

In 1994, Baxley was elected Alabama State Treasurer, in which capacity she pursued office modernization, including the first personal computers for staffers. She worked for expansion of the Prepaid Affordable College Tuition Program.[5] In 1998, Baxley was re-elected to that post. In 2002, Baxley defeated Bill Armistead in the election as elected lieutenant governor, having received more votes than either candidate for governor that year.[6] She also served as a delegate to the 1996 Democratic National Convention, which met in Chicago to renominate the Clinton-Gore ticket, which lost in Alabama.

In 2005, Baxley announced plans to run for governor in 2006. Her main opponent in the primary was former Governor Don Siegelman. In large part because of Siegelman's indictment for bribery and racketeering, she was able to secure important endorsements from the Alabama Democratic Conference, the New South Coalition, and the Alabama State Employees Association.[7][8] Despite running a relatively low-profile campaign, she coasted to a win in the primary election on June 6 with 60 percent of the vote.[9] Baxley was an underdog in the general election, however, against incumbent Republican Bob Riley, trailing by as much as 30 points in some polls. Baxley proposed a raise in the minimum wage of $1 per hour, which generated some criticism from her opponents.[10] She was heavily outspent in the campaign by Riley and pointed to Riley's receipt of large contributions from recipients of industrial development subsidies.[11][12] Baxley lost to Riley, 58-42 percent.[13]

Baxley's term as lieutenant governor ended in 2007, and she was succeeded by fellow Democrat and former Governor Jim Folsom, Jr., of Cullman. Making a political comeback in 2008, Baxley defeated Republican Twinkle A. Cavanaugh to become president of the Alabama Public Service Commission. She replaced the retiring Jim Sullivan. She was then defeated by Cavanaugh in 2012 during her bid for reelection.[14]

In each of her campaigns for office, Baxley utilized media bearing the title of the iconic CBS situation comedy starring Lucille Ball, I Love Lucy.[15]

Stroke and recovery[edit]

Baxley was admitted to UAB hospital in Birmingham on November 23, 2006, Thanksgiving Day. She had become ill Wednesday evening, while visiting her family in Birmingham. Doctors kept her for tests and observations. A spokeswoman for UAB announced that Baxley had suffered a mild stroke, but was expected to fully recover. A statement was issued via her family that asked Alabamians to keep Baxley in their prayers. No further details of her condition were given at the time.[16]

She was discharged from UAB on November 29 and then moved to Lakeshore Rehabilitation Center in Birmingham. She remained there until being released December 29.[17] The cause of Baxley's stroke has not been determined. Following the advice of her neurologist, Baxley did not return to Montgomery to preside over the opening of the Senate, her last official duty as lieutenant governor.[18] According to Senator Lowell Barron, a Democrat from Fyffe, "Lucy's situation is serious." It was difficult for her to move her left leg and "she was unable to move her left arm." Following her discharge, she underwent outpatient rehabilitation.[19]

Personal life and death[edit]

Baxley first married at the age of eighteen; later, she married Bill Baxley, who from 1971 to 1979 was the state attorney general and later from 1983 to 1987 the lieutenant governor. Bill Baxley became involved with another woman in a widely publicized affair, and the couple divorced in 1987. From 1996 until her death in 2016, Baxley was married to Jim Smith.[20]

A licensed real estate broker, Baxley opened a real estate practice in suburban Birmingham after leaving the office of lieutenant governor in 2007.[21] She died at her home in Birmingham, Alabama on October 14, 2016.[22]

Electoral history[edit]

2012 General Election: Alabama Public Service Commission

Candidate Votes Received Percentage
Twinkle Cavanaugh (R) 1,078,108 54.17%
*Lucy Baxley (D) 909,323 45.69%
Write-in 2,890 0.15%

2008 General Election: Alabama Public Service Commission

Candidate Votes Received Percentage
Lucy Baxley (D) 1,014,091 50.25%
Twinkle Cavanaugh (R) 1,001,643 49.64%
Write-in 2,199 0.11%

2006 General Election: Governor

Candidate Votes Received Percentage
*Bob Riley (R) 718,327 57.45%
Lucy Baxley (D) 519,827 41.57%
Write-in 12,247 0.98%

2006 Democratic Primary: Governor

Candidate Votes Received Percentage
Lucy Baxley 279,165 59.84%
Don Siegelman 170,016 36.44%
Joe Copeland 4,141 0.89%
Nathan Mathis 4,000 0.86%
Katherine Mack 3,392 0.73%
James Potts 3,333 0.71%
Harry Lyon 2,490 0.53%

2002 General Election: Lieutenant Governor

Candidate Votes Received Percentage
Lucy Baxley (D) 694,442 51.48%
Bill Armistead (R) 630,839 46.76%
Lyn Curtis Adams (L) 21,884 1.62%
Write-in 1,873 0.14%

1998 General Election: State Treasurer

Candidate Votes Received Percentage
*Lucy Baxley (D) 810,746 64.59%
Tom Davis (R) 443,901 35.37%
Write-in 496 0.04%

1994 General Election: State Treasurer

Candidate Votes Received Percentage
Lucy Baxley (D) 562,733 50.03%
James Martin (R) 561,701 49.93%
Write-in 444 0.03%

1994 Democratic Primary: State Treasurer

Candidate Votes Received Percentage
Lucy Baxley 313,154 55.20%
Elizabeth Alexander 157,184 27.71%
Steven R. Phelps, Sr. 96,958 17.09%

* = Incumbent Bold = Winner

Note: All votes are official results from the Alabama Secretary of State website. Alabama Secretary of State

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Lyman, Brian. "Former Alabama Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley dies at 78". Montgomery Advertiser. USA Today Network. Retrieved 13 December 2017.
  2. ^ "Alabama Department of Archives and History: Ala Lieutenant Governors".
  3. ^ Barnes, James. "Measuring the 'Alabama earthquake': How Doug Jones won". CNN. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. Retrieved 13 December 2017.
  4. ^ "Sounds Like Alabama", The Birmingham News, November 5, 2006, p. 1E
  5. ^ "Office Upgrades on Ms. Baxley's Agenda", The Birmingham News, October 3, 1998 p. 12A
  6. ^ Secretary of State: Certification of General Election Results, 2002 Archived 2010-03-16 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "ADC Backs Baxley for Governor", The Birmingham News, May 14, 2006, p. 15A
  8. ^ "State Employees Group Backs Baxley", The Birmingham News, May 13, 2006, p. 2B
  9. ^ Secretary of State: Certification of Primary Election Results, Democratic Party, 2006 Archived 2008-09-10 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Letter to the Editor: State Doesn't Need More Comedy", The Montgomery Advertiser, September 13, 2006, p. A7
  11. ^ "Baxley Blasts Riley over Contributions", The Birmingham News, July 29, 2006, p. 1B
  12. ^ "Riley, Baxley Make Final Push for Office", The Birmingham News, November 6, 2006, p. 1A
  13. ^ Secretary of State: Certification of General Election Results, 2006 Archived 2010-03-16 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ State of Alabama: Canvas of Results, General Election, November 6, 2012
  15. ^ "'I LOVE LUCY' Signs Won Baxley Fame", The Birmingham News, March 8, 2000, p. 2B
  16. ^ "Baxley Doctors Expect Baxley to Recover Fully from Stroke", The Montgomery Advertiser, November 25, 2006, p. A1
  17. ^ "Lucy Baxley Released from Rehab Hospital", Mobile Press-Register, December 30, 2006, p. B2
  18. ^ "Baxley Skips Senate Opening Because of Stroke Recovery", Mobile Press-Register, January 10, 2007, p. B2
  19. ^ "Baxley Works Hard to Adjust to Life After Stroke", The Montgomery Advertiser, April 9, 2007, p. A1
  20. ^ "Confidence Regained, Baxley Aims for Top", The Birmingham News, May 15, 2006, p. 1A
  21. ^ "Ex-Lt. Gov. Baxley Forms Real Estate Business," Birmingham Business Journal, April 20, 2007
  22. ^ Staff, Wiat (14 October 2016). "Former Alabama Lt. Governor Lucy Baxley dies at 78".

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
George Wallace Jr.
Treasurer of Alabama
Succeeded by
Kay Ivey
Preceded by
Steve Windom
Lieutenant Governor of Alabama
Succeeded by
Jim Folsom
Preceded by
Jim Sullivan
Chair of the Alabama Public Service Commission
Succeeded by
Twinkle Cavanaugh
Party political offices
Preceded by
Dewayne Freeman
Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Alabama
Succeeded by
Jim Folsom
Preceded by
Don Siegelman
Democratic nominee for Governor of Alabama
Succeeded by
Ron Sparks