Chief justice candidate campaigns in Jasper
by James Phillips
Nov 05, 2012 | 1886 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bob Vance, Democratic candidate for chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, visited Jasper Friday. Photo by: James Phillips
Bob Vance, Democratic candidate for chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, visited Jasper Friday. Photo by: James Phillips
slideshow
Jefferson County Circuit Judge Robert “Bob” Vance Jr. visited Jasper Friday afternoon as a part of his whirlwind tour across Alabama campaigning to be the state’s next chief justice.

Vance hadn’t planned on running for the position, but when Democratic candidate Harry Lyons was removed as the party’s candidate, Vance agreed to join the race against Republican Roy Moore.

“Our court system is struggling right now,” Vance said during a stop at Jim ‘N’ Nicks in Jasper. “I’ve seen that first hand in running my courtroom. I knew it was time for me to step up and make a difference.”

Vance said he is concerned about funding for the courts and layoffs.

“I’m focusing on the real problems of the courts,” he said.

Vance is best known in Walker County as “the bingo judge.” It was his verdict in 2009 that ended electronic charity bingo in Walker County.

“That was one of those times when you have to put your personal feelings and politics aside and follow the law,” he said. “It was a difficult decision, but I had to do my job.”

Vance added that he is concerned his opponent on Tuesday cannot separate his personal beliefs and the law.

“I feel he has let his personal beliefs and decisions drive his decisions in the past,” Vance said. “I’ve always tried to put my beliefs aside and base my decisions on the evidence and the law.”

Despite entering the race for Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice late, Vance has used quirky commercials and an old school campaigning approach to get his name out.

“The ‘nerd’ commercials are something that people have commented about a lot. My kids certainly enjoyed filming them,” Vance said of the television spots that have his children calling him a nerd. “Besides the commercials, we’ve tried to go out and meet as many people as possibly. Today, I drove from Baldwin County to Walker County. I’ve enjoyed getting to meet folks during the campaign.”

Vance said he always enjoys visiting to Walker County.

“My ties with Walker County go a long way back, much farther back than the bingo decision,” Vance said. “I enjoy any time I can get out here and see some of my friends from the area.”