Republican or Democrat? Primary will decide

Published 3:33 am Monday, June 5, 2006

By By Tray Smith
This Tuesday, voters across the state will decide who they want to be their party's official nominee in the general election. The races will decide the Republican and Democratic contestants for Governor, Lt. Governor, Supreme Court Justices, etc. As always, voters will only be able to vote in one party's primary. That unfortunately means that those who vote in the Republican primary will have no say in the Escambia County Sheriff's election, which will be decided in the Democratic primary. That is because there are no Republican challengers for the job. Today, I hope to highlight the interesting races.
The Republican nomination for Governor appears to be a Riley landslide, and that is a good thing. However, the threat to Riley is that his supporters will not turn out to vote because they feel secure, which would allow a Roy Moore victory. No matter what the polls say, there is only one poll that counts. I encourage all Riley supporters to turn out to vote. However, if Republicans fill compelled to vote in the Democratic primary in order to cast a vote in the sheriff's race, then I would encourage those Republicans to vote for unelectable democratic candidates for every other office (i.e. Don Siegleman for Governor.)
I have made it clear who I am supporting in this challenge. Bob Riley has lead Alabama through a period of record economic growth and converted a record deficit to a record surplus. We are also spending more on education today than we ever have in history. I am traveling to intern in the Governor's office this week. Governor Riley has been extremely nice to me personally, and I am confident that he is the best possible choice for the Governorship.
Meanwhile, Roy Moore broke the law in order to achieve his ends, which were not spiritual, but political. By sneaking the Ten Commandments into the courthouse at night, Moore was asking for trouble. Furthermore, Moore represents the wrong direction for the Republican Party. It is time that the GOP starts to focus on things that effect people's lives like health care, education, immigration, energy, homeland security, and taxes. I personally do not care whether or not the Ten Commandments are displayed in the state Supreme Court building.
For the Republican Lt. Governor's race, Luther Strange appears to be the best candidate. While he will face tough competition from George Wallace Jr., I believe that Strange will win. It is time Alabama moves past the Wallace area, and the Republican Party should not allow itself to become caught up in another cycle of accusations of discrimination.
For the race for the Republican nomination for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, both nominees seem to be engaged in a propaganda war intended to paint their opponent as a "liberal". Their cheap talking points have made both of the contenders unappealing, but sitting Chief Justice Drayton Neighbors seems to be the most qualified and most elect able candidate.
In our local Sheriff's race, both candidates appear to have a large level of support. Timothy Hawsey was the sheriff of this county for over twenty years, and during his tenure he did a good job. He was also a major supporter of school-based campaigns against dangerous activities like drugs, and since his departure fewer of these seminars have been done. Meanwhile, Grover Smith served us well during both Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Both of these men are qualified, and it will be interesting to see who wins.
I will now travel into unknown territory and try to analyze the Democratic primary for Governor. It appears that Baxley will win the race for the Democratic nomination for Governor hands down. While she will likely loose to Riley in the fall, Republicans like me still hope for Don Siegleman, the indicted former governor who would be squashed in a statewide race.
No matter which party you belong to or which candidate you support, it is important for all of you of at least age 18 to vote. That is not only a right, but a responsibility. Our soldiers are dying for that right now.
Tray Smith is a political columnist for the Atmore Advance. His column appears weekly. He can be reached at

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