MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – Alabama State Senator Bill Hightower filed official paperwork with the Secretary of State’s office to enter the Governor’s race next year.

The Republican senator is currently finishing his first complete term as a State Senator serving the Mobile area in Montgomery.

Last week, Hightower filed his Appointment of Principal Campaign Committee and named himself as the sole member of the committee. As of July 6, Hightower has raised over $209,000 for his campaign.

He enters a crowded field of candidates who look to take over for Governor Kay Ivey, who was appointed to the position after former Gov. Robert Bentley’s resignation. Gov. Ivey has not yet announced whether she will seek reelection.

At this time, a total of nine candidates have entered the Governor’s race including Hightower. That list includes Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, Jefferson County Commissioner David Carrington, President of the Alabama Public Service Commission Twinkle Cavanaugh, former Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb, Evangelist Scott Dawson, corrections officer Stacy Lee George, Birmingham businessman Joshua Jones, and Agricultural Commissioner John McMillan.

If funding is any indication of the future race, Twinkle Cavanaugh has raised over $500,000 to date and the next candidate in the list is Tommy Battle with just over $350,000.

The primaries are scheduled to be held on June 5, 2018 and the statewide general election will be held on November 6, 2018.