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Bus accident draws attention of governor

By Staff
Bob Ingram, Capitol Scene
MONTGOMERY — While Republicans won by far the most statewide races in the recent general election, Democratic Party officials were encouraged by the fact that more Alabamians voted a straight Democratic ticket in that election than did Republicans.
The Montgomery Advertiser reported that 279,231 Alabamians voted the straight Democratic ticket while only 210,231 voted a straight Republican ticket.
State Democratic Party Chairman Joe Turnham said these numbers were encouraging.
These numbers may be skewed a bit by the fact that black voters in Alabama once again voted as a bloc for Democrat candidates. In fact, in the seven predominantly black counties in Alabama — Bullock, Greene, Hale, Lowndes, Macon, Perry and Wilcox – every Democrat candidate for state office won by margins of as much as four-to-one. That's overwhelming evidence of straight-ticket voting.
For example, in those counties Democrat gubernatorial nominee Lucy Baxley outpolled Gov. Bob Riley by a margin of about 23,000 to 8,400. Most of the other statewide races were not nearly that close.
The only Republican to make even a presentable showing in a predominantly black county was State Treasurer Kay Ivey. In her home county of Wilcox she was only beaten by a two-to-one margin.
Cavanaugh, whose tenure as head of the GOP has not been totally free of controversy, says she plans to rejoin the staff of Gov. Bob Riley in a capacity not yet determined. She previously was deputy chief of staff for Riley.
Her announcement not to seek another term provoked an immediate announcement from State Rep. Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, that he would run for the post. With a ringing endorsement from Gov. Riley, it would seem Hubbard would have a lock on the job when the committee elects a new chairman in February.
Judge Blackburn will succeed Judge U. W. Clemon, who had served in that capacity since 1999. Every seven years a new chief judge is named based on seniority.
The new chief judge has impressive judicial and political blood lines.
Her father, the late Flournoy (Ick) Lovelace, was an attorney in Brewton and two-term state legislator; her uncle was the late Winton M. (Red) Blount, whose resume includes a term as U. S. postmaster general in the Nixon administration.
Gov. Bob Riley, who visited some of the survivors of the accident last week, said he had ordered the State Department of Transportation to study ways to make buses safer. He specifically mentioned a hard look about the feasibility of buses being equipped with seat belts.
There have been a number of national studies which have suggested seat belts can cause more injuries than they prevent, but Riley said he wanted to take another hard look at this matter.
The word is that even Barron's supporters feel he is too much of a “lightning rod” and that a new face is needed. Be sure that Barron, whether or not he's president pro temp, will still walk with a big stick.

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