By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Monday, May 1, 2017, US Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) announced that he will not be among the candidates running in the Special Election for the US Senate seat that was vacated when Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) resigned to assume a post as US Attorney General for the Trump Administration.
Congressman Byrne said in a statement, “I have decided that I will not be a candidate in the upcoming Special Election for the United States Senate. At this time, I believe it is best for me to remain in the House of Representatives to focus on important priorities like protecting the Littoral Combat Ship program, reducing federal spending, building the I-10 Bridge over the Mobile River, taking better care of our veterans, and bringing our labor laws into the 21st Century.”
Rep. Byrne said, “The people of Alabama will have the opportunity to pick their next Senator, and I encourage everyone to stay engaged as the election moves forward.”
Rep. Byrne had been among a field of twenty possible candidates that then Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) was considering for the Senate job. Byrne elected then to withdraw his name from consideration for the appointment. Gov. Bentley eventually appointed then Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange (R) to the position. Bentley set the special election to coincide with the next regularly schedule state elections in 2018. A number of legal scholars including state Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) and state Representative Christopher John England (D-Tuscaloosa) declared that Bentley and his legal advisor did not understand the definition of “forthwith” and the Special Election should be set as soon as possible. Last month Gov. Bentley resigned and admitted guilt to two misdemeanors in exchange for an agreement not to be prosecuted over his misuse of state resources to facilitate his affair with married former staffer Rebekah Caldwell Mason. New Governor Kay Ivey (R) realized that Bentley had misinterpreted State law and reset the special election for December with the major party primaries in August.
Byrne has previously been elected to the state Board of Education and the State Senate. After federal prosecutors indicted Roy Johnson (D); Byrne became head of the State’s two-year college system, where he earned a reputation as a corruption fighter. In 2010 Byrne ran for Alabama Governor; but was defeated in the Republican Primary Runoff after the State Teacher’s Union (AEA) covertly spent $5 million on advertising besmirching Byrne’s character and claiming he was, “Too liberal for Alabama.” Byrne was later elected to Congress to replace the retiring Jo Bonner (R-Mobile).
Senator Luther Strange is running in the Special Election. Also running are former State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore (R), former Christian Coalition President Randy Brinson, State Representative Ed Henry, and marijuana advocate Ron Crumpton (D).