Riley vs. Roy -- Update
Though Hurricane Katrina pushed back Governor Riley's anticipated re-election announcement and Roy Moore's political powder is expected to be dry until October, there has been a flurry of national interest in our state's upcoming Republican primary.
Riley has gotten high praise for his handling of the Hurricane aftermath. Compared to his counterparts in Mississippi and Louisiana, Riley seemed better prepared before the hurricane arrived and more skilled in dealing with the aftermath. Certainly, Riley has more hurricane experience than either Barbour or Blanco and both Mississippi and Louisiana had more damage to deal with, but Riley seemed in control and no doubt helped himself politically with his skillful response to Hurricane Katrina.
Though Roy Moore hasn't really had any recent developments to keep him front and center, the national media seems newly interested in Moore or at least the possible GOP revolution he represents. PoliticalWire has some of excerpts from a lengthy profile from Atlantic Monthly and a piece from the Dallas Morning News on the Moore Movement and the nervous eye the GOP establishment has on the ousted Alabama Chief Justice.
Riley has done an admirable job slowly building back his political position after the crushing defeat of his tax plan in 2003. Many seemed to think his skillful reaction to Hurricane Katrina will give him the momentum he needs to thwart Moore and whatever Democrat he faces in Novemeber 2006. I can understand where this conventional wisdom is coming from, but I must say I think those who are of that view are forgetting the potency of the Moore Movement. No matter how strong Riley seems, the simple fact is that Roy Moore can accurately tell Republican primary voters that Riley backed a huge tax hike and failed to stand up for the 10 Commandments against the federal courts. That is a tough position to be in even for an incumbent governor with the considerable political savvy and smooth first-term of which Riley can boast.
Even with all of Riley's strengths, I still think Roy Moore has greater appeal to Republican primary voters.