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Bonner Resigns and Replacement Frontrunners Emerge

By Beth Clayton
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Thursday, Representative Jo Bonner gave his farewell speech to Congress prior to his resignation, which takes effect at midnight on Friday.

In his speech, Bonner talked about his experiences in Congress and thanked his colleagues and constituents.

Bonner will take a position as Vice Chancellor within the University of Alabama system.

Meanwhile, the race to replace him is heating up, with less than two months until the party primaries on September 24.

At the end of June, fundraising reports are beginning to show the potential frontrunners in this race, but all with very different sources of revenue.

Currently, Dean Young, the Orange Beach businessman, has the most in terms of cash on hand, with $133,087 at the end of June. Of that money, $129,500 is campaign loans from himself and only $12,453 is in organic contributions ($11,803 itemized and $650 unitemized).

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Next is Bradley Byrne, one of the 2010 Republican gubernatorial candidates. Byrne had $74,044 on hand at the end of June- $70,882 of which came from individual contributions. Byrne accepted only $5,000 in PAC contributions, all from the Jones Walker LLP PAC based out of New Orleans. Jones Walker has also given funds to Congresswoman Terri Sewell and Congressman Spencer Bachus.

Third in line is Quin Hillyer, Conservative columnist and former editor of the Mobile Press Register. Hillyer has raised $59,866 as of June 30 and has raised the most from PACs than any other candidate in the race. According to his Federal Election Commission Report, Hillyer accepted $15,000 from the Citizens United Political Victory Fund–the group best known for the Citizens United Supreme Court case that prohibits the government from restricting the ability for corporations to donate to political campaigns.

Hillyer has also spent the most money of any candidate so far–more than $15,000 on consulting from Brabendercox, LLC and Oxford Street Strategies.

The fourth place fundraising prize goes to Representative Chad Fincher. Fincher has raised $35,390 in individual contributions and only contributed $10,000 in personal campaign loans. Fincher had $45,081 in cash on hand at the end of the June quarter. He also accepted $500 from the Nursing Home PAC, which was his only PAC money received.

Jessica James is in last place on fundraising, with only $321 in cash on hand. James had $2,600 in itemized contributions, almost all of which she spent on campaign signs.

James Hall and Wells Griffith both have filed statements of organization with the Federal Election Commission. Daniel Dyas and Albert Lipscomb have not filed with the FEC at this point.

Between the three leading candidates, the clear division is emerging between the self-funded, the grassroots leader and the Conservative PAC candidate.

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