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Alabama Governors

Guy Hunt

photo of Ala. Governor Guy Hunt

 

1987-1991
1991-1993

 

Harold Guy Hunt was born on June 17, 1933, at Holly Pond, Alabama, in Cullman County. He graduated from Holly Pond High School in 1950. During the Korean War, Hunt served in the U.S. Army. He was ordained a Primitive Baptist minister in 1958.

 

Hunt's political career began in 1962 when he ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the state Senate. In 1964 he was elected Probate Judge of Cullman County, a position he held for twelve years. Active in the Republican Party, he held high positions in Ronald Reagan's state campaign organization. Hunt was defeated by Fob James in the 1978 governor's race. In 1986, however, he took advantage of a split in the Democratic Party and won the election. He was re-elected in 1990.

 

During his first term Hunt attempted to attract more industry and tourists to the state. His election and subsequent appointments greatly strengthened the Republican Party in Alabama politics. Despite those gains, Hunt's legislative agenda was thwarted by the majority Democrats. Hunt was reelected in 1990, beating the Alabama Education Association director, Paul Hubbert. Hunt's second term was spent battling charges that he had violated state ethics laws. He was convicted of illegally using campaign and inaugural funds to pay personal debts and was removed from office on April 22, 1993. Lieutenant Governor James E. Folsom, Jr., was sworn in as governor on the same day.

 

From the Encyclopedia of Alabama:

In June 1997 Hunt won his first victory in the matter when the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles approved a pardon for him on grounds of innocence. For the pardon to be valid, however, it needed to be signed by a judge or district attorney, but no one willing could be found. Even the recently elected Republican attorney general, Bill Pryor, refused to sign the pardon, arguing that he did not believe his office held that right or power. Then in a stunning defeat, when Hunt requested that probation be terminated shortly before it was due to expire in 1998, circuit judge Sally Greenhaw extended it for five more years because Hunt had been able to pay only $4,200 of the fine and court costs assessed against him. On March 30, 1998, however, Hunt's probation was lifted when his attorney presented a check to the court for the entire balance. Sympathetic Alabamians, both Democrats and Republicans, had helped Hunt raise the needed funds. The next day, the Board of Pardons and Paroles again pardoned Hunt on grounds of innocence, and because probation had been terminated, no affirming signature was needed. The following day, Hunt qualified to run for the Republican nomination for governor against incumbent governor Fob James and three other contenders. Hunt failed to make the runoff and supported Winton M. Blount III against Fob James, who won the 1998 Republican runoff. Hunt returned to his Holly Pond farm and preaching engagements. He died from complications of lung cancer on January 30, 2009, in Birmingham.

 

Hunt and his wife Helen Chambers Hunt had four children. They resided in Holly Pond, Alabama.

 

 

 

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Authorities: Alabama Magazine, Vol. 51, No. 1, January/February 1987.

Alabama Magazine, Vol. 55, No. 1, January/February 1991.

Alabama: The History of a Deep South State. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1994.

Encyclopedia of Alabama