Monday, December 26, 2005

The contingency plan

State Democratic leaders remember what happened the last time they handpicked a candidate for governor, which is why they want former Gov. Don Siegelman's trial over before the June primary. If Siegelman won the primary and later was convicted of a felony, he would be ineligible to hold office in Alabama, leaving the party in the uncomfortable position of staging another expensive primary or picking a nominee by itself.

The last statewide poll I saw on the Democratic primary had Siegelman up by 30 points on Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley, but it was conducted before his indictments were handed down, so it's unclear what effect they've had on the race. For his part, a University of Alabama political scientist predicts that Baxley ultimately will eke out a narrow win over Siegelman, only to tap out to Gov. Bob Riley in the general election after he casts aside former state Chief Justice Roy Moore's primary challenge. As outcomes go, it sounds probable enough.

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