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Voters must decide based on merit, integrity

Gov. Don Siegelman may have scored a double victory on Wednesday.

That’s the day the state Ethics Commission cleared Siegelman by saying he did not break the law when he received legal fees from a tobacco lawsuit settlement.

Siegelman had been under a cloud of doubt for months, with the pending ethics investigation, although the governor maintained throughout the debated that the had broken no laws in his actions.

Also on Wednesday, Charles Bishop endorsed Siegleman’s Republican opponent, Bob Riley, for governor. Bishop, the Commissioner of Agriculture, had challenged Siegelman for the Democrat gubernatorial nomination but failed, by a substantial vote.

Bishop’s venomous attacks on Siegelman and the other candidates ­ and his infamous mud wrestling commercial – may have cost him respect and credibility with the voters of Alabama. And that means his endorsement carries little weight with many voters.

That’s a good thing for Siegelman and Riley can only hope that the endorsement doesn’t negatively affect his campaign.

We doubt it will.

Alabama voters are smart enough to take these endorses with a grain of salt, as the old adage goes. And we believe voters will judge these candidates based on the merits of their campaigns and platforms; on their integrity; and on their ability to lead our state for the next four years.

So ethics investigations and muddy endorsements aside, the voters still have many questions to ask and much to decide.  

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