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SUNDAY, MAY 13, 2007
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Luther Strange is still active, visible after election loss

By Phillip Rawls
Associated Press Writer

MONTGOMERY — Republican Luther Strange hasn’t faded from Alabama’s political landscape after losing the race for lieutenant governor to Democrat Jim Folsom Jr.

He’s speaking to civic clubs and school groups, writing opinion page articles for Alabama newspapers, e-mailing his supporters regularly, and updating his campaign Web site with fresh material.

“These are a continuation of my campaign theme of fundamental change,” Strange said.

Strange, a lawyer and lobbyist, helped in several GOP campaigns before deciding to make his first bid for public office last year. With campaign ads making fun of his 6-foot-9 frame, he knocked off George Wallace Jr. in the Republican runoff.

But then he narrowly lost the general election in November to Folsom, who portrayed Strange as a Mountain Brook Republican who didn’t identify with average Alabamians.

The final tally showed Folsom with 51 percent and Strange with 49 percent.

“To run against the two most famous names in Alabama politics and to come within a couple of thousand votes was amazing in the worst year for Republicans since Watergate,” Strange said.

Normally after a losing campaign, a politician posts a thank-you note to supporters on the campaign Web site and then lets the Web site sit idle until the politician begins to consider another race in a couple of years.

Strange said he’s keeping his Web site going and staying active on the speaking trail to encourage more people who aren’t professional politicians to consider politics and to keep discussing some of the issues he brought up in the campaign, including removing the state sales tax on food.

He’s also working on putting together a public-private partnership on work force development that could involve using students to rehabilitate houses, which would provide them with marketable construction skills.

Strange is clear that he would like to run again, but he’s not locked into another race for lieutenant governor. He said he ran for lieutenant governor last year because he “thought that’s where the greatest need was.”

In 2010, Republican Gov. Bob Riley can’t run again. Traditionally, when the governor’s office is open, the lieutenant governor or the attorney general — and sometimes both — will take a shot at the office.

Strange said he will look at what’s available in 2010 and decide “what the greatest need is.”

In the meantime, Strange won’t be a stranger to Alabama voters.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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