Cleburne GOP head Sprayberry to challenge Dial for Senate
by Laura Camper
lcamper@annistonstar.com
Aug 02, 2013 | 5423 views |  0 comments | 80 80 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tim Sprayberry, left, and Gerald Dial.
Tim Sprayberry, left, and Gerald Dial.
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State Sen. Gerald Dial, 75, will face a Cleburne County challenger for his seat in the 2014 Republican primary election June 3.

Tim Sprayberry, 47, Cleburne County Republican Party chairman, in July began raising money and campaigning against the seven-term senator.

Dial is serving his first term as a Republican. He had previously served two terms in the Alabama House of Representatives and six terms in the State Senate as a Democrat. He lost an election in the Democratic primary for the District 13 Senate seat in 2006. In 2009, he switched to the Republican Party and won back his former seat.

There is some discontent among Republicans with some of the former Democrats who have switched to the Republican Party, said Sprayberry.

“I believe Sen. Dial is still a Democrat,” Sprayberry said. “I don’t believe he represents the values we believe in as Republicans.”

Dial, who spoke by phone Friday from the Alabama Farmers Federation Commodity Producers Conference in Birmingham, said he welcomes the competition.

“We look forward to the campaign,” Dial said. “But, right now we’re working to bring jobs to Alabama.”

Dial said he was a little surprised to hear Sprayberry, the head of Cleburne County’s Republicans and someone he’s known for years, was running against him. But Dial noted that Sprayberry has run for office before, including an unsuccessful campaign for the House of Representatives District 39 seat in 2010. District 39 represents Cleburne, Cherokee and Dekalb counties.

Dial said he plans to run in the upcoming election because he has some unfinished business. He would like to see the sales tax on groceries abolished and to pass a bill he filed last year and has pre-filed again this year to move state schools to online textbooks.

“My goal is to serve one more time,” Dial said. “As majority whip, I’m in a position to have some real influence.”

But he said if he wins in 2014, it would be his last election. He’s ready to retire from political life and work on his book, Dial said.

Sprayberry said if he could turn back the clock, he would have run against Dial in 2010. But he was intimidated by the size of Dial’s campaign fund. This time, Sprayberry thinks he might have a chance to take the seat, he said. Both men filed have filed campaign finance reporting waivers because they have not yet raised $10,000.

Sprayberry works as a private investigator at his own business, Sprayberry Investigations, in Heflin. He’s had the business since 1998 when he left law enforcement, Sprayberry said. He decided two years ago to leave a job at Forte Power Systems, a wire and cable manufacturing company, and work as an investigator full time, Sprayberry said.

If elected, Sprayberry plans to work for smaller government and lower taxes as well as protecting gun owners’ rights and state’s rights, he said.

Senate District 13 includes parts of Cleburne, Clay, Chambers, Cherokee, Lee and Randolph counties.

The qualifying deadline for the 2014 primary election is April 4.

Staff writer Laura Camper: 256-235-3545. On Twitter @LCamper_Star.

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