Despite Charges Of Corruption, Former Governor Gets Plenty Of Free Air Time

It's been the top story everyday for a lot of newscasts throughout the state since Don Siegelman's trial started. And everyday the former governor himself never misses a chance to campaign even though his political career hangs in the balance.

"I am not going to step back or step aside," Siegelman said today while on lunch break from his trial at the Federal Courthouse.

Fighting words at the expense of free advertising, add it all up and you're talking tens of thousands of dollars. In reality, Siegelman's campaign staff says they've only spent just over $11,000 in bumper stickers and radio ads.

Lt. Governor Lucy Baxley on the other hand has spent much more, $40,000 so far. Most of it on t-shirts, signs and stickers, nothing yet on television or radio ads.

"It's very smart on his part, but here I am going about it the right way. I see over and over everyday his pitch about his campaign that is free," Baxley said.

"With all due respect to my opponent who seems to be jealous of all this coverage, I would trade places with her in a heartbeat," said Siegelman.

"Understand me.. I don't want this kind of coverage," Baxley said.

No matter how Don Siegelman gets his message across, it appears to be working if you believe in polls. One media poll has the former governor virtually in a dead heat with Baxley. Yet that same poll shows a huge 22% of the voters are undecided.

"I believe that's the prime need of the people, trust in the public office," said Baxley.

Despite the charges of corruption while in office, Siegelman picked up an endorsement from the United Auto Workers Union. The union called Siegelman's trial a 'witch hunt.' Baxley, meantime, received the full backing from the Alabama New South Coalition. But no matter who's supporting whom, there is one group we haven't heard from.

"The only poll that counts is election day," said Baxley.

And that's only 4 weeks away.

Baxley and Siegelman face 5 other opponents; Joe Copeland of Cullman, Harry Lyon of Pelham, Katherine Mack of Pittsview, Nathan Mathis of Newton, and James Potts of Wilton.