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August 13, 2008

Bright, Love Promised Top Seats

No matter who wins a southern Alabama seat held by retiring Republican Terry Everett, Montgomery has a good chance to keep Everett's seats on two prominent committees. Both parties have said their candidates, Democratic Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright and Republican State Senator Jay Love, will get slots on the Armed Services and Agriculture Committees should they come to Congress.

A new poll, conducted by Capital Survey Research Center, shows Bright maintains the early lead. Conducted 8/6-7, the poll surveyed 505 likely voters for a margin of error of +/- 4.4%. Both Bright and Love were tested among a sample made up of 35% Democrats, 31% Republicans and 34% independents and those who prefer other parties.

General Election Matchup

The poll mirrors results from a survey taken for Bright's campaign last week, which also showed the Democrat leading by ten points. But Republicans say the poll is skewed towards Democrats, given that Capital Survey Research Center also conducts polls for the Democratic-leaning Alabama Education Association. The head of the company, former Auburn University Political Science Department chief Dr. Gerald Johnson, dismisses GOP complaints and points to his long track record.

No matter whether Love or Bright wins the seat, neither will be able to recoup Everett's seniority any time soon. The retiring Republican is the second-ranking Republican on the Agriculture Committee and the fourth-ranking member of the GOP on Armed Services. Everett is also the second-ranking Republican on the Intelligence Committee.

Democrats hand out their committee assignments through Steering Committee recommendations, which are ratified by the full caucus. It is rare that a Steering Committee recommendation is overturned by the caucus.

For Republicans, the Steering Committee has the final say over committee assignments. While a vote on Love's appointments isn't a guarantee of getting either seat, Minority Leader John Boehner's endorsement is a strong indication that Love would get both seats.