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Hartselle Enquirer

Early poll shows Riley with comfortable lead

By Staff
Bob Ingram, Alabama Scene
MONTGOMERY – Here we go again. And it is the same song, second verse.
The Mobile Press-Register, in conjunction with the University of South Alabama, has conducted the first poll of the upcoming gubernatorial race in the General Election and it looks strikingly familiar.
Gov. Bob Riley, the Republican nominee, led Democrat nominee Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley by almost the same margin he led Roy Moore in the GOP primary. The numbers: Riley 53 percent; Baxley 25 percent, with the remainder undecided.
The poll produced some surprising responses. For example, Riley led Baxley among women voters 49 percent to 31 percent. Baxley ran better with black voters (but not overwhelmingly — 38 percent to 28 percent).
USA political scientist Keith Nicholls, who directed the survey, said the numbers clearly suggested an overwhelming advantage for Riley. "In the absence of some economic crisis or a damaging scandal, I suspect Bob Riley will be re-elected governor," Nicholls said.
The Baxley campaign was quick to respond to the unfavorable numbers, noting that the same polling firm had underestimated her vote by 15 percent in the Democratic primary.
"We are in good position to win in November despite what the current poll says," the statement claimed.
Its growth was truly magical. Its population peaked in 1960 when it reached 340,000. But it has been downhill ever since. How far downhill has it gone? The U. S. Census Bureau released its official population estimates a few days ago. Birmingham's population is now only 231,000.
These numbers prompted Jefferson County Commission President Larry Langford to warn that soon Birmingham may well be the second largest city in Alabama, surpassed by Montgomery, which has an estimated population of 200,000.
And what would it mean if Birmingham drops to No. 2? Langford had an answer: "Congressional lines will have to be re-drawn and federal dollars coming into this community will go to Montgomery."
For the record, the fastest growing city in Alabama in the recent estimates was Foley, where the population has jumped 36 percent since the 2000 census. Close behind were Pelham (35 percent) and Millbrook (34 percent.)
The former chief executive of SouthTrust Corp. has moved to Navarre, Fla., but he has announced the foundation he established will not go with him. It will likely be based in Dothan, his hometown before moving to Birmingham decades ago.
Malone retired in January shortly after SouthTrust was purchased by Wachovia Corp. of Charlotte, N.C. When he retired Malone received a "golden parachute" of $135 million. This generous payout drew considerable criticism from some because the sale of SouthTrust led to more than 1,700 job cuts in Birmingham.
Malone subsequently announced he would establish the foundation with some of this money.
The radio spot describes Hammett as a "serial offender" in supporting liberal causes and candidates.
An example, the commercial says Hammett gave an $8,000 contribution to Rep. Alvin Holmes, D-Montgomery "who fought against the ban on same sex marriage."
Hammett faces Republican nominee William Blocker of Andalusia in November.

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