James ready for Tuesday

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 1, 2002

On Tuesday night, the Republican party will announce the winner of the primary for Alabama's next governor's race. Greenville's Tim James might just be that candidate.

"From the beginning, I've been in this race to win," James said. "We started last July right in this same building here in Greenville that we are in today . We started from scratch with about two percent name identification as a challenging candidate, and have managed to put together the best organizational campaign made up of primarily volunteers statewide.We are on track to make this run-off and then we'll go from there."

James said that although some things have come up during the past year,

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"our issues, our message and our strategy have stayed the same, and they never will change."

One of the major concerns of this race has been the education issue, which has included the discussion of the education lottery, which he strongly opposes. "Government really is limited in what it can do, and what happens is that government tries to do too much, giving it no substance and no depth. I am a very conservative man, and I believe in limiting government, but as it relates to public education, it has been a cornerstone," he said.

James said that it is good for a child to be able to read at grade level, but he wants to see the children of Alabama do more than that. "If they read at grade level, they make it, but can never catch up (with the same age-group who are reading above grade level), and that one simplistic fact is the difference between turning this state into an absolute bonanza over the next decade or not."

When asked what he learned during his almost year-long campaign, James said, "You learn a lot always. I can't really say anything that I've learned new things, but you realize how many good people are out there and believe in the right things. They come forth and get involved. What is driving that is the issues

the things that I believe are correct and true, and people are reacting to that. It is exciting to see people engaged and become a part of something where they can make a real difference."

James said that he thinks he and his staff are going to do fine in this election because it is the issues that people are interested in. "People have been moved in a direction because of the issues, and if you take a look at our web site, it is nothing but issues."

He added that he knew as a challenging candidate that it would be a long, slow, gradual climb because that is the way it is when a candidate is a "new guy." "What we are seeing and sensing is that the base is really beginning to move, and we are the only staff working for a candidate who has any momentum. We could lose, but I think we are going to surprise a lot of people."