By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Voters in Alabama’s First Congressional District go to the polls on Tuesday to select their next congressman. Former State Senator Bradley Byrne (R) from Montrose faces Burton Leflore (D) from Mobile in Tuesday’s special election for the open congressional seat.
This will be the third time in slightly over three months that Byrne will have to turn out his voters. Sen. Byrne faced eight opponents in the Republican Primary and then went head to head with Republican Primary runoff opponent, Dean Young, in a race that drew national attention over the direction of the Republican Party.
Bradley Byrne is an attorney and has served as a former head of the state two year college system. Prior to that Byrne was a member of the Alabama state Senate and a former member of the Alabama state School Board.
Byrne said on his website that if elected he will be a fiscal conservative. Sen. Byrne said, “I’ll lead the charge to balance the budget without raising taxes, hold the line on spending, and allow the American economy to expand through natural, bottom-up growth. Our district is poised for greatness. With Airbus and Austal, our single biggest private-sector employer in the district, we are already a center for aviation and shipbuilding. We have one of the fastest-expanding cargo ports in the world. This is our magic moment and we must seize it.”
Burton Leflore is the grandson of former state representative and civil rights leader, John LeFlore. Leflore previously ran unsuccessfully in state House District 97 as an independent.
Leflore told ‘The Alabama Political Reporter’ that the number one issue in this race is jobs and education. Leflore said, “Our educational system is failing. We need to do the best to give our children the best education we can, access to quality athletic programs within their schools and their communities and we need to do everything we can to try to get industries that want to locate here to hire here in this district, and not just everyone from everywhere else. We don’t want to see a situation where Airbus comes in and, for example, only hires 10% residents from this district. I just want to see a proportionate number of people from our district getting good jobs.”
Leflore’s campaign has been rocked by revelations that it has not filed mandatory financial reports to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) and faces possible civil penalties from federal regulators.
Byrne barely won a majority of Republican in the runoff. He faces the challenge of convincing Dean Young’s arch conservative voters that he is conservative enough to be their congressman so that they will come out to the polls in the height of the Christmas season. Dean Young has not endorsed Byrne and has not ruled out challenging Byrne in the June Republican Primary.
Leflore needs a strong turnout by Democratic voters and he needs moderates who normally vote for Republicans to vote for him in the conservative south Alabama district.
Polls will open at 7:00 am and will close at 7:00 pm on Tuesday.
The rare congressional special election became necessary after incumbent Congressman Jo Bonner (R) from Mobile resigned in August to take a job with the University of Alabama System. Rep. Bonner has endorsed Byrne.
The winner will have to face re-election next year.