Election not a one-issue race

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 29, 2002

Grasping at straws or grappling with an issue?

It’s a question raised this week as the Republican gubernatorial candidates

Tim James and Lt. Gov. Steve Windom challenge front-runner Rep. Bob Riley’s

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stand on gambling.

Fueled by incumbent Gov. Don Siegelman’s pledge to revive the lottery issue

should he win re-election, the gambling issue has once again reared its head

in the campaign.

And with less than a week to go before the primary elections on June 4, the

GOP candidates are dangerously close to in-fighting.

James and Windom have both challenged Riley’s claim that he ardently opposes

gambling. They have challenged two donations from

the American Horse

Council, which they say supports horse racing, and they have challenged

Riley’s campaign fliers’ which infer that an anti-gambling bill he supported

passed Congress – even though it failed.

It was a smart campaign tactic on Siegelman’s part. He has sent the Republican

camp into a frenzy, once again, drawing attention struggles within that party

while deflecting attention from his campaign.

Meanwhile, as the leading Democratic contender, Siegelman is confident he

will be on the November ballot.

And, he probably realizes that the images of

squabbling Republican candidates will live on

beyond the June primary – much

to his benefit.

But remember,

this gubernatorial election isn’t a one-issue race. We should

consider each candidate’s stands on everything from funding education to

constitutional reform to tax reform to economic development. We need to

evaluate the candidate’s on their effectiveness; their ability to represent the concerns of the majority of Alabamians; and their integrity and

leadership ability.

We can learn as much from the way these candidates handle themselves as we

can from their records and campaign rhetoric.  

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