Race too close to call

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 5, 2002

The race for governor is the closest it’s been in recent memory, the Rock is making his bid for a sixth term in the state Senate, and the state House District 67 race boasts a serious write-in candidate.

After months of political campaigning, it may come down to the weather.

With some polls estimating that as many as 18 percent of voters remain undecided about who they’ll choose as Alabama’s next governor &045;&045; Democratic incumbent Don Siegelman or Republican U.S. Rep. Bob Riley &045;&045; the outcome is likely to hinge on who does the best job of getting their supporters to the polls.

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With cool, rainy weather predicted throughout today, that could be a problem.

Siegelman borrowed a page from the infamous &uot;Joe gotta go&uot; campaign of a few years back and posted supporters on a number of street corners in Selma Monday evening with signs supporting his candidacy.

But without a catchy phrase for the sign-holders to chant at passing motorists and pedestrians, it just wasn’t the same somehow. Riley, on the other hand, continued to be conspicuous by his absence. The Republican candidate studiously avoided the Black Belt throughout the campaign.

Siegelman’s supporters shared several street corners with supporters of LaTosha Brown’s write-in campaign. Brown is up against Democrat Yusuf Salaam and Republican Mark Story for the House District 67 seat.

Several of Brown’s supporters could be heard chanting &uot;reclaim the victory.&uot; Brown won the June 4 Democratic primary but lost the June 25 runoff to Salaam. She contested the results, but the state Democratic Executive Committee upheld Salaam as the rightful Democratic candidate.

Now she’s hoping to reclaim the momentum of that primary victory with a write-in campaign. She may have to rewrite history in the process.

For their part, both Salaam and Story have run low-key, low-budget campaigns. &uot;I’m not the flamboyant, headline-grabbing type,&uot; Story has said of his campaign style. Since fending off Brown’s challenges to his candidacy, Salaam has worked quietly to solidify his base of supporters.

Keith criticized Riley for his failure to campaign in the Black Belt.

Dallas County Republican Party Chairman Brock Wells downplayed his candidate’s relative lack of attention to this area.

Wells also predicted that Riley will do well among minority voters who traditionally have favored Democratic candidates.

State Sen. Hank Sanders, aka &uot;The Rock,&uot; has run a relatively quiet campaign as he seeks a sixth term for his District 23 seat. Sanders has no Republican opposition. His only opponent is Libertarian Party candidate Richard Motes.

Motes spent much of Monday campaigning in Wilcox County.

Now it’s up to the voters.