By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has endorsed Bradley Byrne (R) over Dean Young (R) from Orange Beach in next week’s First Congressional District GOP runoff election.
The Chamber’s National Political Director Rob Engstrom said at Vulcan Inc. in Foley, “We look at both candidates, we look at their track record, we look at their plans and we try to make a judgment, we say ‘Do we have somebody who fits right on the issues, do we have somebody who is a true conservative who will not flinch when times get tough? Our job is to go find candidates and identify who can lead and who has experience, and we found that candidate in Bradley Byrne.”
Former State Senator Bradley Byrne said that the Chamber endorsement, “Represents hundreds and hundreds of businesses in south Alabama who are looking for somebody to go up to Washington and fight for them, fight for jobs.”
Dean Young responded on Facebook, “We don’t want support from a US Chamber who backs Obama’s Immigration plan to give amnesty to 11 Million ILLEGAL immigrants. Jobs for Americans or jobs for immigrants.”
The powerful National Rifleman’s Association (NRA) stated in a letter to Byrne, “The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund is proud to endorse your candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives in your Republican primary run-off in Alabama’s 1st Congressional District. Based on your solid and consistent pro-gun voting record in the Alabama State Senate and responses to our 2013 federal candidate questionnaire, you have earned an “A” rating from the NRA-PVF.”
Senator Byrne said, “Throughout my life, I’ve always been committed to defending our 2nd Amendment rights and the way of life we hold dear. In Congress, I’ll stand up for our values and oppose any attempts to take away our freedoms.”
Former Congressman Jo Bonner (R) from Mobile said in a prepared statement, “Whether it was rebuilding from Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina, responding to the BP-Deepwater Horizon tragedy or helping to grow new jobs at Austal and bring new companies like ThyssenKrupp and Airbus to South Alabama, my staff and I worked our hearts out to always represent South Alabama in a dignified, meaningful way. I am proud of what we accomplished. And make no mistake, there is only one person who is ready to carry on in this tradition and join the fight to save our country and that is Bradley Byrne.”
Retired Congressman Jack Edwards (R) from Mobile said, “Bradley Byrne is the only person in the race for Congress who can do the job and make us proud of his effort.”
Byrne said, “When you have the NRA and the U.S. Chamber both endorse the same person, that’s a pretty good signal to everybody who the real conservative in the race is.”
Young said on Facebook, “If you want change, vote for Dean Young. If you like what’s going on in Washington DC then vote for Bradley because the politicians in DC are loading up the money on the Bradley train.”
The President of Springhill Toyota in Mobile and Director of the Automobile Dealer’s Association of Alabama, Inc. said, “Bradley Byrne had an outstanding pro-business voting record in the Alabama Senate, and we know he will fight for small businesses in Washington. In the legislature, Bradley sponsored bills to end lawsuit abuse in Alabama, and we know he will take that fight to our nation’s capital.”
The Past President of the Homebuilders Association of Alabama, Cliff Pitman said, “Bradley Byrne is a long-time friend of the home building industry and he has the proven leadership needed to move our economy forward. As a home builder and a resident of Baldwin County, I have the utmost respect and appreciation for everything he has done for our district in the past and confidence that he will continue to make us proud as he represents us in Washington.”
Paul E. Weaver with the Alabama Road Builders Association said, “I’ve known Bradley Byrne and his late brother Dale Byrne for over 50 years. I can tell you Bradley is a man of integrity and character, and will represent South Alabama with pride and honor. Bradley has worked with us on road projects and on issues affecting our business so we can increase jobs and improve our infrastructure here in South Alabama.”
Alabama REALTORS® President, Richard VanValkenburgh said.”Bradley Byrne has been a strong leader for REALTORS® and Homeowners during his many roles as a public servant in Alabama. In Congress, I have every confidence Mr. Byrne will ensure that the voice of Alabama Homeowners and REALTORS® will be heard. Mr. Byrne’s experience as a successful businessman and state senator is just what Alabama needs from our leaders in Washington.”
Byrne has been endorsed by business groups including: theAlabama Automobile Dealers Association of Alabama, Alabama Association of REALTORS, Alabama Retail Association, Alabama Associated General Contractors, Associated Builders & Contractors of Alabama, Alabama Roadbuilders Association, Alabama Homebuilders Association, Alabama Bankers Association, and the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives.
Senator Byrne said, “Our next Congressman must play a vital role in continuing South Alabama’s economic success. From Airbus to Austal, this is a magic moment for our area and my #1 focus in Washington will be promoting and creating jobs here in Alabama’s First District. I’m honored to receive the support of those who know business best, and pledge to work every day to make South Alabama a better place to run a business and promote job creation.” Young said on Facebook, “Just think a real representative who is not bought and paid for by the special interest. With your vote for Dean Young it can happen.”
Byrne has been able to get all the more meaningful endorsements and has raised more money than Young. The Chamber of Commerce alone has spent over $100,000 to this point in this race to help elect Byrne. Young has harnessed a wave of growing conservative anger and has the support of popular Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore.
Conservatives in South Alabama don’t understand why a slim Republican majority in the House has utterly failed to stop the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) or why House Republicans have failed to force the Obama administration to rein in spending.
Young has attacked Republican proponents of gay marriage saying that they should be expelled from the Alabama Republican Party Steering Committee and has declared that Judeo-Christian civilization is under attack.
Young’s supporters can’t articulate how electing Young instead of the very conservative Bradley Byrne to a 435 member Congress really changes any of those larger national and social issues in any significant way, but that does not change their passion for his candidacy. Polls have the race either statistically tied or Young actually leading by as much as three percentage points.
Who ultimately wins depends largely on which campaign does the best job of identifying their voters and then motivating those voters to turnout at the polls on Tuesday, November 5th.
Byrne said, “We know that we’re picking up the momentum both from people that voted on Sept. 24th and from some people that didn’t who are going to come out and vote in this race. This is going to be a race where turnout is so very important, so we’re going everywhere we possibly can to talk to individual voters, whether it’s door-to-door or football games, or big group things that happen. There’s nowhere in this district we’re not going to go over the next week to talk to voters.”
Dean Young said on Facebook, “Bradley Byrne is a mainstream candidate — business as usual, go along to get along. The eyes of the nation are on South Alabama. Please spread the word to all conservatives. A vote for Dean Young will send a message and a messenger on Nov. 5th.”
The winner will face Democrat Burton LeFlore in the Dec. 17th general election.