Bishop backs Riley; Ethics panel clears Siegelman

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 11, 2002

BNI Newswire

MONTGOMERY ­ During his concession speech following the June 4 Democratic primary for governor, Charles Bishop blasted Gov. Don Siegelman’s integrity and record in office, on Wednesday he did it once again.

"I’m going to support Mr. [Bob] Riley in any way I can to become governor of this state," Bishop said in a Wednesday press conference in Montgomery.

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Bishop, who had predicted indictments would be forthcoming from indictments into Siegelman’s administration, again made those statements, not knowing that the state Ethics Commission had cleared Siegelman of any wrongdoing earlier in the day.

"I believe Mr. Siegelman stands a strong chance himself of being indicted and being removed from office," Bishop said.

Although Riley’s campaign was happy to hear the news of Bishop’s endorsement, no one from that campaign was on hand.

"I think they believe they may actually lose votes with this endorsement," said Siegelman campaign spokesperson Rip Andrews. "It is a shame that Mr. Bishop has to end his political career by becoming the worst sore loser in the history of Alabama politics."

Andrews, who did say the endorsement was disappointing, did not think it would have much impact.

"Mr. Bishop’s comments are of no consequence to us," Andrews said pointing out the results from the June primary, where Bishop was a distant runner-up to the incumbent governor.

Bishop, who has served as the state’s agriculture commissioner, finished second in the five-candidate field. Bishop received just 80,193 votes to Siegelman’s 331,571 votes.

Riley spokesperson David Azbell told media outlets Wednesday that Bishop had not been promised anything in return for the endorsement.

As for the findings of the Ethics Commission, Andrews said the governor felt relieved.

"Today, the Ethics Commission exonerated the governor completely, just like we knew it would," Andrews said in a release. "These were trumped up, groundless, false charges by a known Republican Party operative designed to hurt the governor politically and nothing else."

The endorsement news and the commission’s report comes just one day after Siegelman welcomed a 2,000 job expansion at the Honda manufacturing facility in Lincoln.