Governor Loses Effort To Organize Alabama Senate

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Governor Riley lost his effort to organize the state Senate today. A majority of the Democratic senators pulled together at the last minute and elected state Senator Hinton Mitchem as president pro tem by a vote of 18 to 17.

Riley had been supporting a bipartisan coalition led by Democratic Senator Jim Preuitt, who had promised that Republicans would head some major Senate committees.

Mitchem is an eight-term senator from Union Grove. He says he will be a fair leader of the Senate and will make sure every voice is heard.

But some Republicans are worried. Senator Scott Beason says it will be much harder for Riley's proposals to pass, particularly his income tax cut.

Mitchem plans to serve only two years as president pro tem. Then he plans for Senator Rodger Smitherman to replace him.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)