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BARKLEY WILL WAIT ON POLITICS UNTIL GOVERNORSHIP OPENS

     CHARLES BARKLEY, in his first-ever meeting with Alabama
Reublican Party officials, insisted that he should run for
governor rather than challenge U.S. Rep. Earl Hilliard in '96.
Alabama GOP Chair Roger McConnell:  "My gut feeling says he's
thinking more toward governor. ... He doesn't seem that
interested in the congressional race.  When I mentioned that, he
said, 'Well I want to be governor.'"  McConnell did say of
Barkley:  "He's solid with his philosophy.  If he runs in
politics, he'll run as a Republican, I have no doubt" (BIRMINGHAM
NEWS, 7/14).  AL Gov. Fob James, who is a Republican, comes up
for re-election in '98.
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