Bob Ingram, Alabama Scene
MONTGOMERY—We are less than 10 weeks away from what truly can be called an historic election in Alabama but when most people ask me who I think is going to win they are talking about their favorite football team.
While there have been an occasional flare-up between the gubernatorial candidates that contest as well as the myriad of others on the ballot have been yawn-provokers. But not for long.
Labor Day has historically been the kick-off day for November elections. From that day forward the slugfest will begin. And if you think you saw a lot of the candidates on TV leading up to the June primaries, you ain't seen nothing yet.
Both major gubernatorial candidates…incumbent Democrat Don Siegelman and his GOP challenger Congressman Bob Riley…will spend a record amount of money buying TV time.
While their campaign will draw most of the attention, if history is to be made it is in the races for U. S. Senate and lieutenant governor where for the first time ever there are women who have won the nomination of a major party—Susan Parker is the Democrat nominee for U. S. Senate, Lucy Baxley is the Democrat nominee for lieutenant governor. This has never happened before.
And while you may call this straddling the fence, the polls show most of the races too close to call. Shortly after the primary elections Siegelman was a few percentage points ahead of Riley in the race for governor but more recent polls have changed that. Riley has inched ahead but for all practical purposes they were dead even.
What has surprised some is that a couple of recent surveys showed GOP nominee Bill Armistead in a dead-heat with Lucy Baxley for lieutenant governor. In fact in one poll he was actually leading her.
Most of the pundits had considered Baxley a prohibitive favorite. But as that worn out expression goes, the only poll that matters is the one taken on Nov. 4.
If the outcome of the 2002 governor's race between Don Siegelman and Bob Riley hinged on who had the best hair it would be no contest.
Not meaning to get personal but Gov. Siegelman's hair is not unlike the state of the economy—-it has experienced a major recession.
On the other hand, Riley has a magnificent head of hair, thick and black. It is so magnificent, in fact, that the word has been spread that he uses black shoe polish to conceal the gray.
This smear campaign…pun intended…has drawn a strong rebuttal from Riley. He insists both his hair and its color are for real.
In an interview with Phil Rawls of the Associated Press, Riley said it is all in his genes: "My Mom, when she was 78, had no more gray hair than I do."