News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Baxley's campaign still not connecting with voters

Many political observers figured Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley was in a heap of trouble in her race against Gov. Bob Riley as soon as she won the Democratic nomination.

Now with eight weeks before General Election Day, a statewide poll shows Mr. Riley leading her by 21 percentage points. The poll showed that voters who were asked to give their preference chose Mr. Riley 55 percent of the time and Ms. Baxley 34 percent of the time.

Even if she were to get all of the votes from the 12 percent who said they are yet to make a choice, the governor would win handsomely.

Ms. Baxley's campaign is puzzling. In the primary, she complained bitterly that all of the notice went to her opponent, former Gov. Don Siegelman, who was on trial at the time in Montgomery for corruption. Nothing changed after the primary except that she continued in the shadows of the governor.

Her campaign simply can't find a way to attract voters. One way she tries to do that is to question the governor's ethics. Asking him to "come clean," Ms. Baxley continues to raise the issue of Mr. Riley's association with disgraced Washington lobbyist Michael Scanlon and money from Mississippi casino interests.

That tactic obviously isn't registering with voters, either. Ms. Baxley must provide smoking- gun evidence that the governor knowingly asked for or took money from Mr. Scanlon.

Ms. Baxley has less than two months to catch up in the polls but she is not going to have a chance of winning unless she can sully the Riley record, which at this point is about as clean as any Alabama governor who ever served a term on Goat Hill.

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