By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Voters in Alabama’s First Congressional District go to the polls today to decide who they want to represent them in the United States Congress. Former State Senator Bradley Byrne (R) from Montrose is facing Burton Leflore for the office vacated by Representative Jo Bonner (R) from Mobile. Tuesday’s vote ends seven months of campaigning that has seen upwards of eleven candidates campaigning for the hearts and minds of the people of South Alabama.
Bradley Byrne said on Facebook that his campaign was receiving strong support and said, “We’re working hard to turn out our voters for Election Day tomorrow.”
Byrne said on his website, “There is little doubt our nation and our region face many challenges but we also enjoy abundant opportunities. I run for this office as a person who truly seeks real solutions to our problems and I am more than excited to have an opportunity. I intend to be a part of the effort to realize the promise of our nation and our area.”
Burton Leflore said on Facebook, “I sincerely want to represent us here in Southern Alabama and not special interest groups in Washington… I promise I will work tirelessly for us and I will zealously represent us here in District 01.”
Senator Byrne has been the favorite to win this race from the minute that he declared his candidacy, but the road to Congress has not been easy for the former head of the Alabama Two Year College System, state Senator, and State School Board member. Byrne had to fight his way through an eight person Republican field to make the Special Republican Primary ballot and then his opponent: Roy Moore aide and Orange Beach builder and businessman, Dean Young, attacked Byrne relentlessly in a primary runoff battle that was reported on nationwide and beyond.
No Democrat has won a race in the First District of Alabama since John F. Kennedy was President; but Leflore has maintained that the district is ready for a change. “I’ve been told everything from I am wasting my time to I am running a suicide mission but I think we have a chance,” Leflore told the Alabama Press Register after announcing his campaign this past summer. The Mobile realtor is the grandson of former state Representative and Civil Rights era leader, John Leflore.
Leflore previously ran unsuccessfully in state House District 97 as an independent.
Leflore needs a strong turnout by Democratic voters and he needs a strong showing from moderate swing voters 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.
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.