'Luv Gov' keeping door open to Senate run in Alabama

Former Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, who resigned from office last year amid a lurid sex scandal, has not ruled out a run for U.S. Senate in 2020 against incumbent Doug Jones.

In a recent interview with Yellowhammer News, Bentley kept open the possibility of running, saying, “If God shows me a new avenue where I can do that, I’ll do it.”

Adding to the speculation is new activity on Bentley’s social media accounts.

But there is a potential legal hurdle. As part of Bentley’s plea agreement with prosecutors investigating his actions, he was prevented from running for office again in the state -- yet one former prosecutor says Bentley could get around that agreement.

Yellowhammer News reported that former Deputy Montgomery County District Attorney Richard White says Bentley may be eligible for a Senate run, as the ban could be unenforceable since Bentley had already completed his probation and community service.

Coined the “Luv Gov,” Bentley resigned from office in May 2017 following an affair with his former political adviser Rebekah Mason. While governor, the Republican also was alleged to have misused state resources. And it was later found that Bentley and Mason exchanged multiple lewd text messages. Bentley eventually pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor offenses and served roughly a year of probation in addition to community service.

Alabama State Auditor and longtime Bentley critic Jim Zeigler says that a possible Bentley run against Democratic Sen. Jones would not hurt Republicans’ chances of winning back the seat -- because he says Bentley has “no path to victory.”

Local political analysts say a Bentley run most likely would not be taken seriously, and other prominent Republicans would emerge in the race.

“I would be flabbergasted if he was taken as a serious candidate,” said Phillip Rawls, a journalism professor at Auburn University and former Alabama-based political reporter for the Associated Press. Rawls also called Bentley’s plea agreement with prosecutors a “huge hurdle” to a possible Senate run.

Bentley and Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office did not respond to requests for comment from Fox News.