An interesting thing happened this morning. I contacted the office of Gov. Bob Riley of Alabama to follow up on another story about which I plan to write in coming weeks, but naturally the topic of my column here this morning came up and so I asked about word I had heard of Riley’s preference in Tuesday’s gubernatorial runoff. For those following this race, here is what I found, on the record: Gov. Bob Riley has confirmed that he has told friends he intends to vote for Bradley Byrne, but has refrained from a formal endorsement because he doesn’t want to sound like he is telling people how to vote. For wavering Republicans in Alabama, this is more likely than not to send more of them to Byrne’s side, as Gov. Riley remains popular. National conservatives should read my column to be reminded why they should care about this race.