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Of all the gubernatoral elections to be held this upcoming November, perhaps Alabama happens to have the most colorful contest. Even The New York Times ran this headline yesterday: “In Race to Lead Alabama, It’s Politics as Unusual”. The following key contenders showed at the starting gate:Former Governor “the Don” Siegelman, currently under indictment for what may be politically based charges, seeks the Democratic nod. Despite a trial date of May 1, the criminal allegations may not impact the Don at the ballot box, as indictments and gubernatoral politics go hand in hand in the Heart of Dixie. His key platform item is the establishment of a state lottery.Incumbent Governor “Billion Dollar Bob” Riley, the Republican who tried to significantly raise taxes in the name of Jesus. Riley is trying to overcome his stinging loss on that bill by taking credit for a budget surplus which he predicted would be a deficit — the very basis for his call for the largest tax increase in state history. Riley has Abramoff problems, but seems to have the state GOP Chairman, Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh, on his side. Twinkle once opposed the Riley tax plan, then changed sides as she went to work for the governor as his appointments secretary and then deputy chief of staff. She left the governor’s office to chair the Alabama Republican Party just in time for the big GOP showdown in the state. She’s also under fire for taking special interest money.Libertarian activist Loretta “No Panties” Nall, a key player in state, national, and international drug war and prison reform issues. Recently in the news because of her boobs and lack of undergarments, Nall is trying to overcome the public perception of being a single issue candidate (she isn’t) and knock down the barrier of egregious ballot access laws.Current Lt. Governor “I Love Lucy” Baxley, a Democrat who ducked the issues by running on a platform of “We [heart symbol] Lucy” last election cycle. She started with the same platform this time, but has been under fire for copping out on the issues. It seems she may be trying to bury this reputation along with this website banner.Former Judge Roy “Ten Commandments” Moore, who just squashed rumors of an independent or third-party bid and will run against Riley for the GOP nod. Moore is running in opposition to the former Riley tax increase plan (as opposed to the tax decrease plan Riley recently proposed — coincidentally while running for office, go figure). However, during the 2003 tax increase showdown, Moore remained conspiculously silent on the tax issue, instead focusing his efforts (and needed media attention) on an expensive rock at the state Supreme Court building.
I’m not actively working for any of these campaigns, but have contacts in all of them. It’s already been a lot of fun to watch this race from the sidelines, and I expect the last three quarters of the game to become even more exciting.