"An endorsement from someone doesn't mean I accept them," Alabama Gov. Guy Hunt (R) said of his endorsement by the Alabama Empire of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. "It means they're accepting me."

What the endorsement means to some Alabama Democrats is that "the Klan thinks what we think -- that the Republicans will bring race into the campaign," said a supporter of Democratic gubernatorial nominee Paul Hubbert.

Hubbert has been endorsed by the Alabama Democratic Conference, the largest black political organization in the state, and by leaders of the New South Coalition, a smaller black political organization headed by Birmingham Mayor Richard Arrington (D).

Steve Stone, grand dragon of the white supremacist group, said the KKK was backing the first-term governor, but "not because he is a good old boy." Stone complained that "as the political system has evolved in the last decade or so, we've got very few choices to really endorse."

A poll published Friday in the Anniston Star showed Hunt with a 52 to 39 percent lead over Hubbert, the head of the Alabama Education Association. Hunt was drawing 64 percent of white support and 16 percent black support, while Hubbert had 27 percent of white support and 75 percent black support.