By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Tuesday, Republican voters in South Alabama go to the polls to decide whether former State Senator and two year college system Chancellor Bradley Byrne (R) from Montrose or Orange Beach developer and Roy Moore aide Dean Young (R) has the best chance of defeating Democrat Burton LeFlore in the First Congressional District Special Election.
Nine Republicans faced off in the Republican Special Election primary. As expected, longtime front runner, Senator Byrne got the most primary votes. Of the serious contenders to face off with Byrne in the Republican runoff: Quinn Hilyer, state Rep. Chad Fincher, Dean Young, and Wells Griffith, most political insiders thought that Young, who was easily defeated by incumbent Rep. Jo Bonner (R) in the Republican Primary just 20 months ago, would be the weakest possible Republican Primary Runoff opponent for Byrne.
Instead the combative Young, who has vowed to be the most conservative Republican in the entire United States Congress if elected, has waged a campaign in which he has drawn national and even some international attention to the Alabama Gulf Coast congressional race. Some polls actually have the former Roy Moore (R) aide leading days before the vote.
Alabama Congress members Martha Roby, Mike Rogers, and Mo Brooks have all contributed to Byrne’s campaign.
Roby’s Communications Director Todd Stacy said on Facebook, “To my friends in Mobile and Baldwin Counties, I encourage you to go vote tomorrow for Bradley Byrne to represent Alabama’s 1st Congressional District. There are a lot of reasons why I could tell you that Bradley is the best choice, but I think my boss, Martha Roby put it best: “What Bradley did to take on corrupt political insiders in Montgomery showed he has the courage to do what’s right and the wisdom to go about it in a smart way,” she said. “We need leaders like that in Congress.” We need problem solvers in Washington. Not problem makers. Vote for Bradley Byrne.”
Young Republicans Federation of Alabama Chairman Clayton Mark Turner said on Facebook, “My home district, #AL01, votes to nominate a Republican to be the new Congressman today. Although neither candidate was my first choice, their is only one of the two men capable of competently serving the people of AL01 and Alabama. I hope my friends and family will vote for Bradley Byrne today and again in December in the general election.”
Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly said, “Dean is exactly the kind of leader we need in Washington. He will be a bold, pro-family, Constitution-supporting representative who can provide sorely needed leadership in Washington. Dean will stand for Biblical principles and less government, less spending and more individual freedom. He will also protect the sovereignty of the state of Alabama and the nation.”
‘Mod Mobilian’ has bitterly denounced Dean Young. The magazine wrote, “Young is – point blank – the worst candidate we have seen in our lifetimes in Alabama and even nationally – save only David Duke. These character problems include: Repeated lies or exaggerations – especially about his background (businesses and military service) Completely unnecessary belligerence towards people – i.e. “being a jerk” Willful ignorance on how the government functions And we do not say that lightly.
He will be a disaster for the reputation and business environment of Lower Alabama.” The magazine claimed that Young has lied repeatedly about his having over 25 employees, about having multi $ million businesses, being a realtor, and being a home builder.
Byrne has the endorsement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the powerful National Rifleman’s Association (NRA), the Alabama Retail Association, the Alabama Forestry Association, the Alabama Autodealers, the Alabama Roadbuilders, and most business interests in the state.
Former Congressman Jo Bonner (R) from Mobile who 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.”
A Poll by Cygnal on Wednesday showed Young leading the race by 43.2% to 40.2%, but the results on on Tuesday are entirely dependent on which campaign best motivates its voters to turn out.
Byrne said, “We know that we’re picking up the momentum both from people that voted on Sept. 24 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. 5.”
The winner will still have to face Democrat Burton LeFlore in the Dec. 17 general election and then will have to run again in the Republican Primary in June.