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Democratic numbers on decline

By By Bob Ingram
MONTGOMERY- Alabama voters may be in for a surprise when they go to the polls on June 5 to participate in the Democratic or Republican Primaries.
For decades the ballots…especially the Democratic slate of candidates…has resembled a laundry list. The number of candidates has seemed almost endless. Not so this year. An astonishing seven statewide offices will not even be on the Democratic ballot because only one candidate qualified. In reality, these candidates have already won the Democratic nomination.
If you vote Democratic you won't find the name of Lucy Baxley on the ballot because she is unopposed for the nomination for lieutenant governor; the same is true for Attorney General where the only candidate on the Democratic ballot is Boyd Whigham.
Also unopposed in the Democratic Primary are James Anderson, Place No. 1 on the Supreme Court; Misha Mullins, Court of Civil Appeals; Florence Cauthen, Court of Criminal Appeals; veteran Jan Cook, unopposed in the primary for re-nomination to Place No. 2 on the Public Service Commission; and Greg Pierce, who is unopposed for Place No. 2 on the PSC.
There is also a dearth of candidates for statewide office on the Republican primary ballot. U. S. Sen. Jeff Sessions escaped without primary opposition, so did Atty. Gen. Bill Pryor. Their names will not be on the primary ballot.
Also unchallenged were Civil Appeals Judge Bill Thompson, Criminal Appeals Judge Pam (Walking) Baschab and Pubic Service Commissioner George C. Wallace Jr.
In the Second District incumbent Republican Rep. Terry Everett drew no opposition. He will be challenged in November by Democrat Charles Woods, the badly burned World War II veteran, who was the only qualifier for the Democratic nomination.
Incumbent Rep. Bud Cramer of the 5th District escaped opposition in the Democratic Primary and the luckiest incumbent of all…Republican Congressman Charles Aderholt drew no opponent…Democrat or Republican.
Ironically, some of the so-called experts thought he was in trouble two years ago when he was challenged by Marsha Folsom, the former First Lady. He beat her so badly that no one had the courage to challenge him this time.
And now is as good a time as any to remind you for the first of many times: If you vote in the primary on June 5, be it Democrat or Republican, you cannot "crossover" and vote in the other party's run-off on June 26.
In case you have wondered why Dr. Paul Hubbert and the AEA reigns supreme in the Alabama Legislature, the answer was provided last week when the countless special interest groups reported what they had contributed to candidates running in the 2002 elections.
The AEA reported it had contributed a staggering $2.25 million to candidates since Jan. 1. Instead of referring to the AEA as an "800 pound gorilla" perhaps it's weight should be increased to 8,000 pounds.
In addition to making huge contributions to candidates for state office, Dr. Hubbert said 29 state senators seeking re-election have each received $25,000 or more from the AEA and another $10,000 each was given to 64 members of the House.
With support like that it is no wonder the Legislature approved a 3 percent raise for teachers a few weeks ago even though the lawmakers themselves admitted there wasn't enough money in the budget to fund the raises.
It came as no surprise but ALFA has made it evident that it is not satisfied with the present top leadership in Montgomery. The group has turned its back on incumbent Gov. Don Siegelman as well as incumbent
Lt. Gov. Steve Windom and given its endorsement to Charles Bishop for the Democratic nomination for governor and Bob Riley on the Republican side.
The endorsement may not deliver many votes but it means substantial cash for these two candidates.

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