Alabama voters will go to the polls on June 5 to cast votes in the Republican and Democratic primaries, with the winners squaring off in the Nov. 6 general election.

Two names headline the governor’s race on the Republican ticket, the winner of whom will be the clear front-runner to win the office in November.

Those two names are current Gov. Kay Ivey and Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle.

Voters should start paying attention now to what they’re saying and what they’re doing; and more so, what they plan to do and how they plan to do it.

Both candidates deserve your consideration.

Ivey did exactly what the state of Alabama desperately needed by steadying the political ship being torn apart in a violent storm of ethical, legal and mudslinging disaster.

The question is: Was that mission such low-hanging fruit that anyone holding office without a criminal record was qualified?

Regardless, she took on the job and seems to have rebranded herself with the new and much more important role of governor, and she has done so in good fashion. She has, in short, returned respect to the office, and that is an important accomplishment.

Ivey also is an Auburn University graduate, meaning, she knows and understands the issues facing east Alabama better than probably most of her opponents.

So now voters must ask, how can she raise the bar over the next four years, and does Ivey have the ability to take Alabama where it needs to go next?

Tommy Battle says he does, and he says he has a proven record that backs his argument.

In the tit-for-tat sideline battle for credit in bringing 4,000 new jobs to Alabama with a new Toyota-Mazda plant, Battle probably should be declared the winner of that one. He no doubt played an important role in the many hurdles faced getting to the point of such a major announcement, given it is in his backyard.

Battle claims 90 percent of the vote in back-to-back victories as mayor of the state’s most futuristic and bustling city in Huntsville, home to the likes of NASA and plenty of high-tech industry, and he says he can do for the state what he has done for the city.

That would be an incredible challenge, but also most certainly an incredible accomplishment.

Look for more to come as this race heats up, but look harder for what you need to know about both candidates and any others you deem worthy of attention.

This will be an important election for the state of Alabama.

Deciding it should be voters who are well informed.

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