BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - The question really isn't whether Sen. Richard Shelby will win a fifth term against a political rookie this year - it's how much power he'll have the day after the election.
Shelby will likely become chairman of the Appropriations Committee if Republicans win control of the Senate in the midterm vote. Political scientist Mark Griffith says that would put Shelby in position to direct vast amounts of money to Alabama.
Shelby faces Democrat William Barnes, a Birmingham attorney making his first bid for elective office, in the general election.
The incumbent Republican doesn't seem worried about his re-election prospects. Despite having some $17 million in his campaign account, Shelby has done little active campaigning aside from billboards.
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