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Riley starts race with full war chest

By Staff
Bob Ingram, Alabama Scene
MONTGOMERY–The four leading candidates for governor in the upcoming primaries have filed their first campaign finance reports, and the numbers confirm a couple of things.
First, it helps to be an incumbent state official when you are soliciting campaign funds…and second, it hurts if you are facing allegations of wrongdoing which may result in you not even being eligible to run. Gov. Bob Riley's financial report proved the value of being the incumbent. He has already raised almost twice as much campaign money as the other three facecard candidates in the two primaries.
Riley's statement showed he had raised a whopping $3.8 million last year, more than 12 times as much as his GOP primary opponent, former Chief Justice Roy Moore, who has generated $310,000.
The numbers for the Democratic candidates are much smaller, but the margin is almost the same. Incumbent Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley reported she had $1.2 million in her war chest, far ahead of Don Siegelman, who reported contributions of $105,000 plus a loan of $300,000 from his brother Les.
Predictably the candidates who are trailing in raising the big bucks sought to put a favorable spin on their numbers.
A Moore spokesman noted that he had received contributions from 49 states. (If anyone reading this has a friend in Maryland, ask them to send a buck or two to Moore. That would give him contributions from all 50 states.)
Siegelman conceded that the federal racketeering charges pending against him have hurt his ability to raise money and that he is not approaching any of the deep-pocket contributors until his trial is over.
That will be cutting it close because the trial is not scheduled to begin until May 1.
Being of a conservative bent, the BCA also gave its blessing to a number of other Republican candidates–Atty. Gen. Troy King, State Treasurer Kay Ivey and Chief Justice Drayton Nabers, among others.
In what raised an eyebrow or two the BCA endorsed Luther Strange of Birmingham for lieutenant governor rather than George C. Wallace Jr.
During his time at Troy he became quite ill and was hospitalized for several weeks. During his hospitalization the Troy Board of Trustees met and appropriately a resolution was passed wishing Dr. Adams a speedy recovery.
According to the story Ralph loved to tell, penned across the bottom of the resolution were the following words: "This resolution passed by a 5-to-4 vote."
That old story came to mind this past week when controversial State Sen. Hank Sanders, D-Selma, was cleared of any wrongdoing by the Ethics Commission. He had been accused of using state money for personal gain.
The motion to clear Sanders passed on a 3-2 vote. After being cleared of the charges, Sen. Sanders immediately demanded that the commission fire Director Jim Sumner. Sanders was especially upset because the commission took so long…three years…in resolving the case.
So severe has been this decline in the North Alabama Conference of the church that last week the denomination voted to make drastic cuts in administrative costs. It reduced the number of district superintendents from 12 to eight. The United Methodist Church is the second largest denomination in Alabama…but it is a very distant second to Southern Baptists. The most recent demographic studies show that Southern Baptists represent 56.7 percent of the state's population, United Methodists 13.5 per cent.