Charles Barkley Switches Political Uniforms

Published: Jul. 26, 2006 at 5:05 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 7, 2006 at 12:52 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- The Round Mound of Rebound has changed his political uniform from red to blue and is talking again about running for governor of Alabama, possibly in 2010.

At a meeting of the Southern Regional Conference of the National School Boards Association  in Destin, Florida, Barkley said he was serious about a possible run.  "Alabama, that's my home.  I'm thinking about running for governor, they need my help." said Barkley.  Later he added, "I'm serious."

According to the Alabama Constitution, to qualify Barkley would have to be a "resident of this state at least seven years next before the date of their election."

Joe Turnham, Alabama's Democratic Party chairman, called it "great news." He said he plans to contact Barkley and invite him to some events the party has planned.

Barkley, a Leeds native, has been talking about running for governor of his home state since he played with the Phoenix Suns in the NBA. In 1995, he said he was considering running in 1998 as a Republican, but that never materialized.

After that, Barkley continued to identify himself as a Republican until recently, when he switched to the Democratic team.   Barkley is quoted on Chris Baldwin's July 17th blog on as saying, "I was a Republican until they lost their minds."

Barkley's comment was made at a celebrity golf tournament California.  However, Barkley didn't let the Democrats off the hook at the same event, he is further quoted on the blog as saying, "The Democrats have done a horrible job...Democrats have wasted the last two years going after this guy(President Bush) and two years from another election, we don't have a frontrunner or a plan."

The ex-Auburn basketball star said his immediate goal is to get his 17-year-old daughter through high school and into college. Then he plans to decide on his future.

Alabama's last Democratic governor, Don Siegelman, said Barkley has become a role model for many people and would make an excellent candidate.

Siegelman noted that Barkley has the personal wealth to stage a strong campaign.

Associated Press contributed to this report