In defeat, AG King weighs what to do next

Published 11:02 pm Monday, June 21, 2010

MONTGOMERY (AP) — Attorney General Troy King at the still young age of 41 has completed six years as Alabama’s top lawyer but, after his loss in the primary, said Monday he has little idea what he will do next.

Once viewed as a possible candidate for governor, King said that if an attorney general follows the law, he or she won’t earn a lot of political capital.

“Done properly, this job is not a stepping stone. It’s about doing what’s right, it’s not about the next election,” King said in an interview.

Following a bitter feud with former ally GOP Gov. Bob Riley over the electronic bingo issue and having lost the Republican primary to Birmingham lawyer Luther Strange, King leaves office on Jan. 17.

Options for a former attorney general in a political town like Montgomery include going into private practice as an attorney, joining a law firm, or going to work as a lobbyist. King said he could not discuss possible employment with a law firm until he has completed his job as attorney general.

He said he might consider lobbying “if the right issue came along and I could make Alabama a better place. I have not talked to anyone about a job.”

King said he is certain his future will not include a return to his old job working as an assistant attorney general in the AG’s office. A former merit system employee, he could be eligible to return to work in that post for the new AG — either Strange or the winner of the Democratic runoff July 13 between Montgomery lawyer James Anderson or Birmingham lawyer Giles Perkins.

“I don’t know what my next adventure will be. I don’t envision staying here. I would be a distraction,” King said as he looked around his office. He said he expects he will remain in Montgomery, where his wife, Paige, is from, and not move back to his hometown, Elba in Coffee County.

King said he wants to devote his last six months in office to being the state’s lawyer and will not be bitter about his campaign loss to Strange or the feud with Riley, who appointed him attorney general in 2004.

During the past couple of years he has fought off various charges and nasty rumors, including a claim that he took advantage of his office to go to an Atlanta Braves game with family and friends and sit in an Alabama Power Co. box.

“I guess it would be easy to be bitter, looking back at some of the things that have been said that I have done,” King said. “But then I look in the eyes of someone I helped, who believed in me. I realize I have gotten to do something less than 50 people have gotten to do.”

After the June 1 primary, King said he took a trip with his family to Gatlinburg in the Smoky Mountain, relaxed, visited the aquarium, rested and got over the frustrations of the campaign and the feud with Riley.

“The Bible says to shake off the dust from your feet and move on,” King said. “I’m back from Gatlinburg with dustless heels and I’m sleeping fine.”