Pate defeats Dial in Ag Commissioner race

Pate defeats Dial in Ag Commissioner race

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – It wasn’t “Dial Time” after all.

As a testy campaign for Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries closed Tuesday night, Lowndesboro mayor Rick Pate defeated longtime State Sen. Gerald Dial in a GOP runoff.

Pate received 56.68 percent of the vote to Dial’s 43.34 percent according to the Secretary of State’s office with 99 percent of precincts reporting.

The 63-year-old Pate led the 80-year-old Dial and three other candidates in the primary in June, but didn’t get enough votes to win the nomination outright.

Pate leaned on his farming and business background to overcome a significant advertising effort from Dial.

Dial’s catchy, jingle-infused “Dial Time” ads gained him significant attention in the beginning of the race, but it was his attack ads accusing Pate of domestic violence against his ex-wife that really raised eyebrows toward the end.

Pate’s campaign responded with an ad of its own featuring his ex-wife saying the accusation was “an untruth, a lie and a distortion of the facts,” and pointing to Dial’s past as a Democrat.

“Thanks to everyone who has supported me over the past year, everyone who has encouraged me, everyone who has worked in my campaign, and everyone who voted for me today,” Pate said in a Facebook post to supporters. “This win could not have been possible without you.”

Pate will become the next Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries as there is no Democrat on the ballot for the November general election.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.