Former Gov. Riley backs Humphries in Oxford mayoral race
by Patrick McCreless
Aug 24, 2012 | 4725 views |  0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Former Gov. Bob Riley this week publicly backed Cristy Humphries in her bid to become Oxford’s mayor, bringing a big political name into the race that includes seven-term incumbent Leon Smith and fellow challenger Russell Mullins.

In an advertisement in Thursday’s edition of The Star, Humphries announced that Riley was supporting her candidacy. Riley reportedly plans to officially endorse her at a campaign event today.

The ad features a signed letter from Riley that states why he supports Humphries’ candidacy. Municipal elections are Tuesday.

“Oxford is on the brink of significant development, if the right leadership is in place,” Riley wrote. “Cristy Humphries has the business sense, personality, energy and drive to make sure Oxford is on the map with economic developers and site selectors.”

Riley added that Humphries had developed contacts that are invaluable to industrial recruitment and that he will do everything he can to help her win the election.

Riley had previously donated $1,000 to Humphries’ campaign. Attempts to reach Riley for comment Thursday were unsuccessful.

During a phone interview Thursday, Humphries said Riley will appear today at a campaign event near the Oxford High School football stadium at 4:30 p.m.

Attempts to reach Smith to learn if he has a similar campaign event planned was unsuccessful Thursday.

Mullins said Thursday that he had no plans to hold a final campaign event before the election.

“No, probably not,” Mullins said.

Humphries said it was an honor to receive Riley’s endorsement.

“Having an endorsement from a friend as well as a political icon and leader is very humbling,” Humphries said.

Humphries added that Riley would be a great asset if she is elected mayor.

“I think Gov. Riley, having that relationship with him, is invaluable to industrial development because he can help recruit and sell Oxford as the best place for business,” Humphries said.

Since completing his second term as governor in early 2011, Riley has worked as a federal lobbyist through his Montgomery business, Bob Riley and Associates.

Humphries said she and her husband, Anthony Humphries, president of Noble Bank, have been friends with the Riley family for many years dating back to before Riley’s election as governor. During Riley’s first term as governor, Anthony Humphries served in his cabinet as state superintendent of banks.

“We just developed a friendship … we look up to them as our mentors,” Humphries said of Riley and his wife, Patsy.

To date, Humphries has out-raised Smith in campaign funds. However, Smith, first elected in 1984, has spent more than twice as much as Humphries on his campaign, relying on a large pool of money raised in previous campaigns. Mullins has filed no campaign finance reports because he has not reached the minimum $1,000 funding threshold.

According to the latest campaign finance reports, filed last week, Humphries has received $31,513.21 in contributions, compared to the $27,350 in contributions Smith has received. However, Smith has spent $51,573.04, compared to the $24,292.11 Humphries has spent. While Humphries last reported having around $7,600 left in the bank, Smith reported still having more than $60,000. Much of the money was left over from previous campaigns.

Star staff writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_Star

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