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Mathis plans to run for governor as Democrat, not an independent

MONTGOMERY (AP) — Former state Rep. Nathan Mathis said Thursday he plans to seek the Democratic nomination for governor and will drop plans to run as an independent.

Mathis, who served three terms in the House as a Democrat from Newton, made the announcement during a speech to members of the lower chamber. He said he would drop out altogether if lawmakers clear the way for his plan to legalize casinos and a lottery to raise nearly $400 million in revenue, the centerpiece of his campaign platform.

Mathis said he decided to run as a Democrat in the June 6 primary partly because he was concerned that people who had signed his petition to run as an independent might not be able to vote in the Democratic Party primary.

Jim Spearman, executive director of the Alabama Demo-cratic Party, said the party has no rule that would prevent people who signed a petition for an independent candidate from voting in the primary. Spearman also said he didn't foresee Mathis having any difficulty signing up to run as a Democrat, because he has not actually appeared on the ballot as an independent.

Mathis said he would drop out of the race if the Legislature would adopt his gambling plan, which could lead to setting up as many as 21 casinos in the state, all of which would be taxed 12 percent.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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