Campaign numbers confirm two things

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 7, 2006

MONTGOMERY &8212; The four leading candidates for governor in the upcoming primaries have filed their first campaign finance reports, and the numbers confirm a couple of things.

First, it helps to be an incumbent state official when you are soliciting campaign funds … and second, it hurts if you are facing allegations of wrong doing which may result in you not even being eligible to run.

Gov. Bob Riley&8217;s financial report proved the value of being the incumbent. He has already raised almost twice as much campaign money as the other three facecard candidates in the two primaries.

Riley&8217;s statement showed he had raised a whopping $3.8 million last year, more than twelve times as much as his GOP primary opponent, former Chief Justice Roy Moore, who has generated $310,000.

The numbers for the Democratic candidates are much smaller, but the margin is almost the same. Incumbent Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley reported she had $1.2 million in her war chest, far ahead of Don Siegelman, who reported contributions of $105,000 plus a loan of $300,000 from his brother Les.

Predictably the candidates who are trailing in raising the big bucks sought to put a favorable spin on their numbers.

A Moore spokesman noted that he had received contributions from 49 states. (If anyone reading this has a friend in Maryland, ask them to send a buck or two to Moore. That would give him contributions from all 50 states.)

Siegelman conceded that the federal racketeering charges pending against him have hurt his ability to raise money and that he is not approaching any of the deep-pocket contributors until his trial is over.

That will be cutting it close because the trial is not scheduled to begin until May 1.

The powerful Business Council of Alabama (BCA) has announced its endorsements for the upcoming elections and it was no surprise it gave its blessing to Gov. Bob Riley. The BCA had supported him four years ago.

Being of a conservative bent, the BCA also gave its blessing to a number of other Republican candidates – Atty. Gen. Troy King, State Treasurer Kay Ivey and Chief Justice Drayton Nabers, among others.

In what raised an eyebrow or two the BCA endorsed Luther Strange of Birmingham for lieutenant governor rather than George C. Wallace Jr.

I trust I have the license to extend birthday greetings to my alma mater, Auburn University, on its 150th birthday. It was chartered on Feb. 1, 1856 as East Alabama Male College, later it became Alababama Polytechnic Institute, and more recently Auburn University.

And for the record, I still sing the &8220;Alma Mater&8221; the old fashioned way:

&8220;O&8217;er the rolling plains of Dixie, neath the sun-kissed sky,

&8220;Proudly stands our alma mater…A. P. I.&8221;

Bob Ingram has been covering Alabama politics for more than 50 years