Will Ainsworth

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Will Ainsworth
Ainsworth in 2023
31st Lieutenant Governor of Alabama
Assumed office
January 14, 2019
GovernorKay Ivey
Preceded byKay Ivey
Member of the Alabama House of Representatives
from the 27th district
In office
November 4, 2014 – November 7, 2018
Preceded byWes Long
Succeeded byWes Kitchens
Personal details
Born1981 (age 42–43)
Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
SpouseKendall Foster
EducationAuburn University (BA)

Will Ainsworth (born 1981) is an American politician serving as the 31st lieutenant governor of Alabama since 2019. He previously served in the Alabama House of Representatives from 2014 to 2018, representing its 27th district.

Ainsworth ran for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor in 2018, and won the primary following a runoff election.[1] He was re-elected in 2022 without Democratic opposition.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Ainsworth was born in Birmingham, Alabama,[3] in 1981,[4] to Billy and Sharon Ainsworth. He was raised in Boaz, Alabama,[3] and his mother Sharon was the director of the Real Life Crisis Pregnancy Center in Marshall County, Alabama, which encourages adoption.[5] Ainsworth graduated from the Westbrook Christian School in 1999, then attended Auburn University and attained a bachelor's degree in marketing in 2004.[6]

Ainsworth first worked as a youth pastor at Grace Fellowship Presbyterian Church in Albertville, Alabama. He co-founded a hunting lodge in Guntersville with his brother Austin in 2003, and helped create the Tennessee Valley Hunting & Fishing Expo trade show in Huntsville in 2011.[7] During his career in business, he served on various wildlife and hunting committees, as well as the board of directors of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes organization.[6] Ainsworth also worked in real estate as the owner of Ainsworth Real Estate and Ainsworth Homes in Guntersville.[3]

Alabama House of Representatives[edit]

In the 2014 election cycle, Ainsworth ran as the Republican Party nominee for the Alabama House of Representatives' 27th district, which included parts of Marshall County and DeKalb County. The incumbent, Wes Long, chose not to run for re-election. Ainsworth was unopposed in the Republican primary and faced Democratic nominee and former representative Jeff McLaughlin in the November general election.[6][8] When describing his reasons for his candidacy, Ainsworth said that he hoped to fight back against "career politicians", positioning himself as an outsider, and to prevent regulation of small businesses.[6] Ainsworth campaigned on what he called his top three priorities as a state legislator: "jobs, jobs and jobs".[9] He participated in a forum debate with McLaughlin in October 2014,[10] and was endorsed by the Alabama Retail Association PAC.[11] Ainsworth won the general election with 59% of the vote.[12]

During his tenure in the Alabama House of Representatives, Ainsworth served on the House committees for Agriculture and Forestry, Ethics and Campaign Finance, State Parks, Public Safety and Homeland Security; as well as Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure.[7] Ainsworth was an opponent of same-sex marriage while in office. In 2015, he encouraged the probate judge of Marshall County to not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and called same-sex marriage an "immoral [attack] on traditional marriage".[13] He also criticized Roy Moore's suspension from the Alabama Supreme Court over legal disputes regarding same-sex marriage, saying that the Southern Poverty Law Center was attacking "godly men" and forcing "immoral and dangerous beliefs onto society".[14]

Ainsworth was opposed to a decision made by Governor Robert Bentley to remove the Flags of the Confederate States of America, along with the Confederate Battle Flag on the grounds of the Alabama State Capitol; the Confederate Memorial Monument where the flags were situated was not removed.[15] Ainsworth supported the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act of 2017, signed by Governor Kay Ivey that prohibits local authorities from removing monuments or renaming public schools that have existed for over 40 years.

During the 2016 United States presidential election, Ainsworth served as the Alabama state chairman for Marco Rubio's campaign in the Republican primary.[16] Following the revelation of Governor Robert J. Bentley's extramarital affair in 2016, Ainsworth attempted to introduce a recall election process in Alabama, which did not exist at the time of Bentley's scandal. Although his efforts received coverage in The Washington Post, the proposal did not become law.[17][18] He also sponsored ethics-focused legislation to enact term limits and remove office holders who abuse their position.[19] Ainsworth's other work as a legislator included workforce development and encouraging adoption as an alternative to abortion.[16]

In February 2018, Ainsworth introduced a bill (HB-435) to arm teachers on school campuses in the aftermath of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.[20] Although Ainsworth called on Governor Kay Ivey to convene a special legislative session for school safety, the bill ultimately failed in the yearly session.[21]

Lieutenant Governor of Alabama[edit]

In June 2017, Ainsworth announced his candidacy for Lieutenant Governor of Alabama in the 2018 election cycle.[22] The office had been vacant since Kay Ivey's ascension to the governorship after Robert Bentley's resignation.[23] During the Republican primary for lieutenant governor, Ainsworth received the endorsement of Senator Marco Rubio, whose state campaign he had previously chaired.[24] In September 2017, Ainsworth was named by Yellowhammer News as one of the people "who will be running Alabama in a few years".[25] In the June 2018 primary, Ainsworth finished in second place behind Twinkle Cavanaugh, the president of the Alabama Public Service Commission. The two advanced to a runoff election in July, as neither attained 50% of the vote.[26]

The runoff between Ainsworth and Cavanaugh became bitter; Cavanaugh attacked Ainsworth with the claim he had been convicted for petty theft while in college.[27] Ainsworth denied the allegation and called Cavanaugh a liar. In an interview with the Alabama Political Reporter, Ainsworth presented a letter from the Jackson County Sheriff's Office that stated he had never been convicted of such a crime and only held a minor boating infraction with the department. He admitted that he had been arrested for what he called a "college prank" in which fiberglass tigers were stolen, but no charges were ever filed against Ainsworth and the statues were returned.[28] Ainsworth ultimately defeated Cavanaugh in the runoff election with 51% of the vote. Following his victory in the runoff, the Alabama Political Reporter called Ainsworth a "rising voice within the Alabama Republican Party".[27] He then won the general election against Democratic nominee Will Boyd with 61% of the vote.[29]

As the Lieutenant Governor of Alabama and thus presiding officer of the Alabama Senate, Ainsworth has advocated for numerous conservative legislative actions, including Alabama's 2019 abortion bill (HB-314). When an exemption for rape and incest was struck from the bill, Democratic state senators accused Ainsworth of gaveling the removal too quickly. Ainsworth defended his position afterwards and called abortion murder, emphasizing his desire for the state legislature to pass abortion restrictions.[30] Ainsworth has also promoted a ban on critical race theory[31] and supported school choice,[32] as well as constitutional carry.[33]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ainsworth came into conflict with Governor Kay Ivey over her response to the virus. He wrote an open letter criticizing the state's level of preparedness in March 2020 as the pandemic emerged in the state; Ivey responded to the letter by calling it unhelpful.[34] In April 2020, Ainsworth urged Ivey to reopen businesses that had been closed in the initial response;[35] in July, he called Ivey's newly-decreed mask mandate an "overstep" infringing on civil liberties.[36] In October, Ainsworth himself tested positive for COVID-19, but recovered and returned to work within a week.[37]

Ainsworth called for the impeachment of Joe Biden during an appearance at a rally for Donald Trump in Cullman in August 2021.[38] In 2022, Ainsworth stepped in to become involved with a controversy regarding the police department of Brookside, Alabama. Following reports that Brookside had engaged in aggressive ticketing as a speed trap, Ainsworth requested a state audit of the town and its police department.[39] This audit eventually occurred via an investigation of Brookside by the Alabama Department of Examiners of Public Accounts. In March 2022, Ainsworth and his office helped introduce legislation to prevent similar occurrences in the state.[40]

In the 2022 election cycle, Ainsworth faced no challenger in the Republican primary for lieutenant governor. Additionally, no Democratic candidate qualified to run against Ainsworth. His only opposition in the general election was Libertarian nominee Ruth Page-Nelson. Ainsworth was re-elected with 83% of the vote.[41] In 2023, 1819 News described Ainsworth as having been "instrumental" in the gradual repeal of Alabama's grocery tax.[42] The partial repeal, under House Bill 479 authored by Danny Garrett and Andrew Jones, was passed unanimously in June 2023 and was praised by Ainsworth as a "bold first step" to removing the grocery tax completely, which Ainsworth said was his ultimate goal.[43]

Although Ainsworth has not announced a candidacy, he has been endorsed for the 2026 Alabama gubernatorial election by Nathaniel Ledbetter, the speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives. In July 2023, 1819 News called Ainsworth a "prohibitive favorite" to succeed Governor Kay Ivey in 2026.[42] In August 2023, Ainsworth endorsed Donald Trump in the 2024 Republican Party presidential primaries, saying that he believed Trump would "undo all the damage President Biden has done".[44]

Personal life[edit]

Ainsworth is married to Kendall Foster; they have three children together.[45] He is a Baptist[46] and attends Gilliam Springs Baptist Church in Arab, Alabama, with his family.[3]

Electoral history[edit]

Electoral history of Will Ainsworth
Year Office Party Primary General Result Swing Ref.
Total % P. Runoff % P. Total % P.
2014 State Representative Republican Does not appear 7,355 59.7% 1st Won Hold [47]
2018 Lieutenant Governor Republican 205,017 37.1% 2nd 176,873 51.5% 1st 1,044,941 61.3% 1st Won Hold [48]
2022 Republican Does not appear 957,534 83.6% 1st Won Hold [49]


  1. ^ Lyman, Brian (July 17, 2018). "Will Ainsworth wins Republican nomination for lieutenant governor". Montgomery Advertiser. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  2. ^ "AP projects Ainsworth to win 2nd term as Alabama lt. governor". WSFA 12 News. November 9, 2022. Retrieved November 27, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d "Who is Will Ainsworth?". Bama Politics. August 7, 2022. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  4. ^ Flowers, Steve (June 25, 2020). "Inside the Statehouse: How Has Coronavirus Affected Alabama Politics?". The Opelika Observer. Retrieved February 4, 2023.
  5. ^ "State Rep. Will Ainsworth responds to Alabama lieutenant governor questionnaire". Yellowhammer News. May 15, 2018. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  6. ^ a b c d "Will Ainsworth - House District 27". The Blount Countian. February 26, 2014. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  7. ^ a b "Five things you need to know about Will Ainsworth". Alabama Today. June 12, 2018. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  8. ^ Gholson, Ron (October 8, 2014). "State House District 27". The Blount Countian. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  9. ^ "Ainsworth Releases 5-Point Plan for Job Growth & Economic Development". Southern Torch. October 13, 2014. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  10. ^ "Ainsworth and McLaughlin Square Off Tonight". Southern Torch. October 7, 2014. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  11. ^ "Alabama Retail Association Endorses DeKalb Candidates". Southern Torch. April 14, 2014. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  12. ^ Gholson, Ron (November 12, 2014). "Election finale". The Blount Countian. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  13. ^ Edgemon, Erin (February 13, 2015). "State lawmaker urges Marshall County probate judge not to yield to 'immoral attacks,' issue marriage licenses to gay couples". AL.com. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
  14. ^ Gore, Leada (May 10, 2016). "Liberals trying to 'purge godly men' like Roy Moore, Rep. Will Ainsworth says". AL.com. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  15. ^ "Confederate flag removed from state grounds". June 24, 2015.
  16. ^ a b Garrison, Greg (October 30, 2018). "Lt. Governor race: one wants armed teachers, one leans to legalizing pot". AL.com. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  17. ^ Cason, Mike (March 24, 2016). "Governor Robert Bentley scandal: Lawmakers call for recall bill, investigation, resignation". AL.com. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  18. ^ Phillips, Amber (March 25, 2016). "Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley is in big trouble over his affair allegations". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  19. ^ Patton, Elizabeth (July 5, 2018). "Get to know: Will Ainsworth Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor". Alabama Today. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  20. ^ Cason, Mike (February 20, 2018). "Rep. Will Ainsworth rounds up support for bill to arm teachers". AL.com. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  21. ^ Brownlee, Chip (March 22, 2018). "Speaker: Ainsworth bill to arm teachers scrapped this year". Alabama Political Reporter. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  22. ^ "Rep. Will Ainsworth announces run for Lt. Governor". WAFF-48. June 25, 2017. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  23. ^ Sahlie, Will; Jackson, Lily (November 6, 2018). "Will Ainsworth becomes Alabama's next lieutenant governor". The Montgomery Advertiser. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  24. ^ Moseley, Brandon (November 8, 2017). "US Sen. Marco Rubio to endorse Will Ainsworth for Lieutenant Governor". Alabama Political Reporter. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  25. ^ "Who's Next? Meet the people who will be running Alabama in a few years". Yellowhammer News. September 7, 2017. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  26. ^ Moseley, Brandon (June 7, 2018). "Ainsworth on making the runoff: "The fight for Alabama's future is not over"". Alabama Political Reporter. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  27. ^ a b Brownlee, Chip (July 18, 2018). "Will Ainsworth captures GOP nomination for lieutenant governor, toppling Twinkle Cavanaugh". Alabama Political Reporter. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  28. ^ Moseley, Brandon (July 17, 2018). "Ainsworth says that Twinkle is a liar". Alabama Political Reporter. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  29. ^ Morris, Kyle (November 6, 2018). "Will Ainsworth defeats Democrat challenger in Alabama lieutenant governor race". Yellowhammer News. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  30. ^ Moseley, Brandon (May 13, 2019). "Ainsworth defends actions on abortion bill, says "abortion is murder"". Alabama Political Reporter. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  31. ^ Poor, Jeff (November 29, 2021). "Ainsworth: Critical Race Theory ban has 'got to get done' — Liberals are 'trying to infiltrate our schools, change the narrative of history'". Yellowhammer News. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  32. ^ Poor, Jeff (February 9, 2022). "Lt. Gov. Ainsworth: 'I support school choice 100%'". Yellowhammer News. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  33. ^ Smith, Dylan (February 22, 2022). "Ainsworth urges passage of constitutional carry as potential House vote looms". Yellowhammer News. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  34. ^ Sharp, John (March 28, 2020). "Alabama Lt. Gov. butts heads with governor over coronavirus response". AL.com. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  35. ^ "Ivey: Reopening economy won't be a quick or simple process". WSFA-12. April 17, 2020. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  36. ^ Carlson, Morgan (July 15, 2020). "Lieutenant governor says Alabama mask mandate is an 'overstep'". WSFA-12. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  37. ^ "Alabama Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth returns to work after COVID-19 diagnosis". WVTM-13. Associated Press. October 29, 2020. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  38. ^ Smith, Dylan (August 23, 2021). "Ainsworth calls for Biden's impeachment in fiery speech to Trump faithful — 'Time for Republicans to stand up'". Yellowhammer News. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  39. ^ Archibald, John (January 26, 2022). "Alabama Lt. Governor requests state audit of Brookside and its police department". AL.com. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  40. ^ "Lt. Gov. Ainsworth introduces bill to prevent further Brookside Police Department abuses". Alabama Political Reporter. March 3, 2022. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  41. ^ Taylor, Drew (November 8, 2022). "Will Ainsworth re-elected as Alabama's lieutenant governor". CBS-42. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  42. ^ a b Poor, Jeff (July 5, 2023). "House Speaker Ledbetter endorses Ainsworth for governor in 2026 at annual Henagar event". 1819 News. Retrieved July 5, 2023.
  43. ^ Taylor, Caleb (June 2, 2023). "Ainsworth: Grocery tax cut 'bold first step toward my goal of abolishing it altogether'". 1819 News. Retrieved July 5, 2023.
  44. ^ Taylor, Daniel (August 5, 2023). "Ainsworth endorses Trump for reelection to 'undo all the damage President Biden has done'". 1819 News. Retrieved August 6, 2023.
  45. ^ Moseley, Brandon (April 12, 2019). "Ainsworth will not run for Senate". Alabama Political Reporter. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  46. ^ Flowers, Steve (January 15, 2020). "INSIDE THE STATEHOUSE: Methodists have dominated high offices in Alabama". The Tuscaloosa News. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  47. ^ "2014 Election Information". sos.alabama.gov. Secretary of State of Alabama. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  48. ^ "2018 Election Information". sos.alabama.gov. Secretary of State of Alabama. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  49. ^ "2022 Election Information". sos.alabama.gov. Secretary of State of Alabama. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
Party political offices
Preceded by Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Alabama
2018, 2022
Most recent
Alabama House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the Alabama House of Representatives
from the 27th district

Succeeded by
Wes Kitchens
Political offices
Preceded by Lieutenant Governor of Alabama