When will the governor's race heat up?
Bob Ingram, Alabama Scene
MONTGOMERY – It is without question the strangest and the quietest gubernatorial campaign in my memory.
With the primary elections now less than three weeks away one question begs to be answered: Where is the snap, crackle and pop? Where is the thunder and lightning so common in past gubernatorial campaigns?
The answer may be found at the Federal Court House in Montgomery, where the corruption trial of former Gov. Don Siegelman and three other defendants is now in progress. The trial is the big story in Alabama and it is the lead story on the six o'clock news and on the front pages of the newspapers. And the four face-card candidates running for governor in the primaries can also be blamed for this less than usual media attention on the election.
Those waiting to see a knock-down-drag-out fight between Siegelman and Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley for the Democratic nomination are still waiting. Ditto for the GOP contest between Gov. Bob Riley and former Chief Justice Roy Moore.
Of the four only Riley, with a war chest that overflows, has launched a TV blitz. There is a reason you see little or no TV advertising from Siegelman and Moore — their war chests are not overflowing.
As to Lt. Gov. Baxley, it would appear that she is confident that Siegelman will be so badly crippled by the trial — whether guilty or not — that she is a shoo-in to win the party nomination and is saving her campaign money for the General Election in November.
Her campaign got a major boost this past week when the New South Coalition, a predominantly black group, endorsed her. More significantly, a spokesman for the Alabama Democratic Caucus, an even larger black group, indicated this past weekend that it, too, would endorse her.
Not being a fashion expert I am not sure what you call some of the outfits she has been wearing. Once upon a time I think they were called pedal-pushers. Be sure she has never worn the same pair of shoes twice. But the highlight of her attire is the cloth cast she is wearing on her arm which was broken some weeks ago in a mishap.
The cloth cast has been frequently color coordinated to match her outfit. If she is wearing beige, the bandage is beige; if she is wearing purple, the bandage is purple, etc. Add to this the fact that she is an uncommonly attractive woman and you can understand why she is getting almost as much air time on TV as the prosecutors and defendants.
One more tongue-in-cheek comment: Have you ever seen so much hand-holding in your life? I have yet to see any TV coverage of the event when the four defendants were not tightly holding on to the hands of their wives. I have to believe some TV consultant told them to do that.
The agency said 449,000 tourists visited the zoo last year, well ahead of attendance figures at the runner-up, Visionland Theme Park in Bessemer. Rounding out the Top Ten attractions: U. S. Space &Rocket Center, Huntsville; Exploreum Museum of Discovery, Mobile; Montgomery Zoo; Huntsville Botanical Garden; McWane Center, Birmingham; USS Alabama; Alabama Constitution Village, Huntsville; Bellingrath Gardens and Homes, Mobile.
The numbers for the USS Alabama were lower than normal because Battleship Park was closed part of the year due to hurricane damage.