Flowers no longer seeking PSC seat

Published 2:19 pm Monday, February 10, 2014

Alabama columnist and commentator Steve Flowers announced Thursday that he will not be a candidate for Alabama Public Service Commission Place 2.

Flowers, a Troy resident, said he considered a race for the State Public Service Commission after the Ethics Commission confirmed that he could continue his career as an Alabama political columnist and commentator in conjunction with the public service endeavor.

He was challenging incumbent Republican Terry Dunn for the nomination. Other challengers include Alabama Minority GOP Chairman Philip Brown and Jonathan Barbee, former Alabama GOP interim press secretary.

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Flowers served 16 years in the Alabama House of Representatives before starting a career in political commentary. He also teaches Southern Politics at Troy University.

In his announcement, Flowers said after contemplation and consultation with editors, readers and viewers and listeners, it is his belief that he would lose credibility and potentially his impartiality as a political journalist if he reenters the political arena as a participant.

“I like the niche that I have carved for myself as Alabama’s columnist and commentator for local newspapers, especially those in middle size towns,” Flowers said. “When you throw your hat in the arena, you are a politician. People look at you differently as a politician. They look at you with a different prism.

“As a politician, I would become a party person. I like being an analyst and the people’s conduit to the State Capitol. Over the last decade, I’ve been able to tell it like it is. People trust me. I have earned their trust and they like what I’m saying about state politics.”

Flowers’ weekly column runs in about 70 newspapers across the state, many of which are local papers.

“Those are the newspapers that people read to find out who won the baseball game, who got married and who died,” he said. “They are the papers people read to find out what Steve Flowers has to say and people put their trust in it. It’s my niche. “

Flowers said it is his belief that he could have won the race for Alabama Public Service Commission Place 2.

“I have wide state name recognition – greater than the other candidates, except in the Huntsville and Mobile areas,” he said. “But, I just like my independence better. I don’t want to lose my credibility.”

Flowers said he is happy with his decision not to run for public office. He reportedly had a significant campaign fund from previous political endeavors when he decided to run for the PSC.

“I feel good about my decision,” he said. “I may get back into politics at some point but right now I have no plans.”

Flowers said he is now turning his attention to his column and to what he calls “a dull year in politics.”

“I’m not going to get involved,” he said. “I might not ever write about it.”