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Alabama Elections Directory 2006

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Friday, October 07, 2005

Of Democrats, Indictments, and Polls

The fallout continues from Don Siegelman's binge with Tuscaloosa News.

Siegelman has tried to amend his quasi-sexist implication that a woman governor wouldn't be capable of handling the National Guard in the case of an emergency:

"All I was saying was I was reflecting on what a political survey said in regard to the feelings of Alabama voters. It was not a personal position. It has nothing to do with gender," he said. "I think women are just as capable of handling the National Guard as they are being commander-in-chief of the military."

For her part, Lucy Baxley was not willing to turn the other cheek. She, somewhat clumsily, jabbed back recalling Siegelman's problems with the law.

Baxley, said that if the gender of governors makes any difference, then "far more men" governors have been indicted or are in prison for criminal convictions. "I am positive of this. He knows more about [being indicted]," Baxley said.

Siegelman is doing what he can to downplay his foolish remarks and Baxley is trying to show some gravitas in response. Ultimately, this is an early skirmish in what looks to be a long and potentially bitter campaign.

One point that seems to have been lost in the shuffle is the current state of the Democratic primary. Siegelman seemed to be playing loose with the facts when he asserted that polls showed him increasing his lead from 8 to 12 points after Katrina. The AEA pollster corrected Siegelman and declared the Democratic primary is "competitive, within a small margin of error."

What?

Lucy Baxley should have at least a double digit lead on Siegelman at this point. A Mobile Register poll in January had her leading Siegelman 45%-32% and now she is either a couple of points ahead or even a couple of points down?

Lucy Baxley has solid name recognition and is thought to be popular with all segments of the Alabama electorate. So why is she struggling to stay even with Siegelman? I know Siegelman is an Alabama Democratic fixture, but the guy is still battling to stay out from behind bars. What will happen once Lucy is forced to take controversial positions throughout the campaign?

I've been told that Don Siegelman was indicted a couple of weeks ago, but the indictment is sealed and has yet to be served. That would certainly explain why Siegelman attempted to cushion the blow by publicly stating his expectation of another indictment. If Siegelman is indeed indicted again, it will probably signify the death knoll for his 2006 campaign and will allow Lucy Baxley to have an easier road to the nomination.

That still doesn't change the fact that Baxley should not need further intervention from the federal government to dispatch a wounded Siegelman. And assuming that she is indeed in a dead heat with the former governor, that should distress many of the Alabama Democrats who are counting on Lucy to lead the party back to power.

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