Sunday, July 30, 2006

Alabama Governor Race

Race of the Day

Alabama Governor

July 30, 2006

100 Days Until Election Day

Status: Republican Incumbent
2004 Presidential Result: Red State (South)

Outlook: Likely Republican

The race for Governor of Alabama is a prime example of how quickly political fortunes can turn around for the better.

Through the first couple years of his term, Republican Governor Bob Riley was seen as somebody who was extremely politically endangered and many speculated he would not even seek reelection due in large part to a tax structuring position he took that angered many in his own party.

Nonetheless, Riley has been able to bounce back since then for a variety of reasons, including what was seen as strong leadership in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and the Governor was able to easily dispatch what once looked like an extremely tough primary opponent in former State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, a hero of many social and religious conservatives. The Riley vs. Moore primary battle was once much hyped, but in the end was fairly anti-climactic.

The same can be said to some degree about the victory of Riley’s general election opponent in the Democrat primary. Lt. Governor Lucy Baxley comfortably defeated former Governor Don Siegelman without the need of a runoff, even though some polls had shown a very close race between the two of them before the June primary. Siegelman, who was narrowly defeated by Riley in 2002, was hampered by having to campaign while at the same time sitting on trial on federal corruption charges, of which he has since been convicted.

Polls currently show Riley’s job approval ratings continuing to move upwards and Democrats who were once extremely bullish about the possibility of winning back this office now concede that the race is clearly Riley’s to lose.

The likeable and charismatic Baxley is definitely a candidate to take seriously, but the knock on her is that she might be more about personality and smiles (and capitalizing one the last name of her former husband, a crusading Alabama Attorney General who was very popular with African-Americans) and that she is less about substance and new ideas.

Polls taken before the primary had shown Governor Riley starting to build a solid lead, but since the general election match-up has been set, every poll has shown him moving even further ahead with a significant lead in the double digits over Baxley in this reliably conservative state.

When all is said and done, it now appears that Riley is likely to win a second term, ending a streak of several Alabama Governors being defeated for reelection, and will probably approach the 60 percent mark in the popular vote. All of which would have been hard to believe back when it looked like Bob Riley did not stand a chance of even making it to a general election in 2006.

As will be customary, I welcome the input of Alabamians or anybody else on this race.

Riley campaign link:

2006 Gubernatorial races predicted: 0 D, 1 R

Predicted totals for 2007 thus far: 8 D, 7 R


At 12:49 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

Hey Corey, nice blog you got. I post on Politics1 as Jordan, Alabama Dem. You've got an interesting take on the election, and as a Lucy Baxley supporter and campaign volunteer I am obviously a little biased. But, as conservative as Alabama may be, state politics are still pretty well dominated by Democrats. I think the race is going to be much closer than anyone winning with a 60% majority. After Labor Day, things will really pick up and it's gonna be a good race. I still think Baxley will pull ahead.

Can't wait to read more from you!

At 2:02 PM, Blogger Corey said...

Thanks for reading and thank you for the comments Jordan. It will always be great to hear from people who live in the states that I will be talking about.

While Alabama is certainly Republican dominated to a large extent at the federal level, statewide state races have been a lot more competitive, but the Republicans do happen to control some of the constitutional offices.

When all is said and done this year, especially if Riley has coattails, the Republicans may win all those offices, except probably for the Agriculture and Industry Commissioner post.

It seems to me like people think that Lucy Baxley is a nice lady but based on how Riley is polling, she really has to do something to make a rationale for replacing him as Governor.

It looks like Riley is going to win and the question might be about the margin. I think he is going to come pretty close to reaching 60 % of the vote if not surpassing that.

It is great that you are involved though on behalf of your candidate even if we are in different parties. Good luck.

At 2:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Good Stuff. I know you from the Hedgehog Report. I am not worried about AL. When you get to PA, then the R's are in deep trouble.


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