Riley Beats Baxley for Alabama Governor but No Coattails

By  | 

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Republican Bob Riley is the first incumbent governor re-elected in Alabama in sixteen years, but his popularity did not rub off on candidates for lieutenant governor and chief justice.

Chief Justice Drayton Nabers and lieutenant governor candidate Luther Strange joined Riley on the campaign trail, but both lost tight races to Democrats.

Democrats also retained control of the Legislature.

For Riley, the election became the opposite of four years ago, when he beat Siegelman by a mere 31-hundred votes in the closest governor's race in modern Alabama history.

Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley said she was pleased that she did better than forecast in pre-election polls, which showed her trailing by more than 20 percent. But she said taking on a well-funded incumbent was difficult.

In Riley's victory speech last night, he laid out goals for a second term, including building more trust in government and no longer accepting -- quote -- "mediocrity in education."

He's expected to discuss his agenda today at a 10 a.m. news conference in Birmingham.

Riley's win resulted, in part, from voters like the Reverend Tony Peoples, who favored Democrats in down-ballot races but saw no need for change at the top of the ticket.