(CN) – After the dramatic resignation of Alabama’s governor, members of the state’s Democratic Party were quick to seize upon the abrupt departure as proof of Republican corruption.
Governor Robert Bentley resigned at approximately 5 p.m. on Monday, the same day the state’s House Judiciary Committee began impeachment hearings against him for using his position to cover up an extramarital affair with a top aide. He also pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor campaign finance violations.
Bentley’s resignation capped a tumultuous week for the conservative state that saw leaders on both sides of the aisle calling for him to step down.
Chair of the Alabama Democratic Party Nancy Worley issued a statement in response declaring that, “Republican corruption has spread like kudzu.”
“To get elected, Republicans told Alabamians they were the Party of integrity and family values, yet they govern by fattening their own pockets, having love affairs, and disrespecting the founding principles of our government,” Worley continued.
She also highlighted the recent ouster of two other Alabama Republicans – former House Speaker Mike Hubbard and former Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court.
Hubbard was sentenced to prison last year after being convicted on multiple ethics offenses, while Moore was suspended for defying a U.S. Supreme Court order to honor its decision regarding the legality of same-sex marriage.
“’Three strikes and you’re out’ applies to baseball and to corrupt Republican politics in Alabama, with today’s resignation of Gov. Robert Bentley,” Worley said.
State Rep. Craig Ford, D-Gadsden, echoed Worley’s sentiment as he lamented the current state of politics in Alabama.
“It is a sad state of affairs that the leadership of all three branches of our state government has – in only one year’s time – either been removed from office, or resigned because they were going to be removed from office for corruption,” Ford said in a statement.
The state’s new governor, Republican Kay Ivey, indicated that her administration would not be beset by the troubles of her predecessor.
“The Ivey administration will be open, it will be transparent and it will be honest,” Ivey said during her swearing-in ceremony.
Ivey, formerly Bentley’s lieutenant governor, stepped up approximately one hour after Bentley announced his resignation. She is the second female governor in the history of the state.
Ford said he looks forward to working with the new administration.
“I believe Gov. Bentley’s resignation was in the best interests of the state, and I look forward to working with Gov. Ivey as we try to move the state forward. Now more than ever we need a strong, two-party system so we can break this chain of absolute power becoming absolute corruption. I hope the people of Alabama will take this to heart and vote for the person rather than voting for the party,” Ford said.