Campaign a #8216;horserace#039; says Strange

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 14, 2006

Luther Strange, Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, said on Monday his campaign is &#8220going great.”

Strange, a lawyer with Bradley Arant of Birmingham, faces former governor Jim Folsom Jr. in the November general election. Strange stopped by The Greenville Advocate offices to discuss his campaign and platform.

&#8220Right now, it's looking like a horserace, neck and neck,” Strange said.

The Republican candidate said his primary focus is on a bright future for Alabama.

&#8220To me, we have a great situation, with a great contrast between me and my opponent. He represents the past; I represent the future. Let's not turn back the clock and go back to politics the way it was 20, 25 years ago.”

Strange said the upcoming election could be a history-making one for the state.

&#8220We've never had the opportunity to have a Republican governor and lieutenant governor who know each other, like each other and will work well together on the issues in office at the same time.”

The candidate sees himself as the &#8220one missing piece” in forming a team in leading the state.

&#8220I would encourage the voters of Butler County to ask themselves, ‘Who is in the best position to work with our governor, our senators, our congressman?'” Strange said.

The candidate said Mississippi Governor Hailey Barbour, who recently came to Alabama to campaign for Strange, suggested voters who voted for Riley shouldn't turn around and &#8220vote for someone (as lt. governor) who will be a ball and chain on the governor for four years to come.”

Strange said his platform revolved around three key issues: economic development, education and ethics.

&#8220I think Governor Riley has had one of the most accountable, ethical and transparent administrations we've ever seen, and we want to continue that.”

The candidate said voters will hear more from him in the coming weeks concerning lobbying reform, campaign finances, and accountability, especially in terms of pass-through pork and double-dipping.

Addressing his opponent's assertions the candidate is a &#8220country club kind of guy,” Strange said he had achieved financial success &#8220not because of a wealthy background, but due to two great parents, opportunities and hard work.”

&#8220My folks never earned more than $40,000 total a year. Luckily, my height helped me earn a basketball scholarship to pay for college at Tulane, and serving in the merchant marines let me save for law school.”

Strange said he wanted everyone in Alabama, rich or poor, black or white, to have great opportunities.

&#8220I think we are on the right road now. We need to stay on it and we just don't want to look back.”