Alabama congressional special election draws crowded primary field
Montgomery, Alabama: Nine Republicans and two Democrats are seeking their party's nomination in the special election primary elections tomorrow to replace Jo Bonner (R) in the 1st District. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Bonner resigned in May to accept a position as vice chancellor of government and economic development at the University of Alabama. He then announced on July 23, 2013, that he would resign August 2, 2013, instead of August 15, 2013 as originally planned, to allow Gov. Robert Bentley to schedule the special election so that a replacement could be elected and seated before the new session of Congress begins in January 2014.
- Chad Fincher: State representative
- Quin Hillyer: Conservative columnist
- Dean Young: 2012 1st District Republican primary candidate
- Bradley Byrne: Former state senator and two-year college chancellor
- Sharon Powe: Legal assistant with the U.S. Small Business Administration
- Wells Griffith: Deputy Chief-of-Staff to the Republican National Committee
- David "Thunder" Thornton: Retired Shell production specialist
- Jessica James: Realtor
- Daniel Dyas: Builder
In a statement on August 7, 2013, Secretary of State Jim Bennett said the Democratic Party was an hour late in submitting the names of the two candidates. However, Bennett said they would “err on the side of caution” and allow the qualified candidates on the ballot.
Bradley Byrne raised $241,363 between July 1, 2013, and September 4, 2013, and had $183,629 cash on hand going into the primary. That is almost $80,000 more than Wells Griffith, who raised the second-highest amount during the same period. Griffith raised $162,250 and had $87,730 in cash on hand going into the primary. Quin Hillyer raised the third-highest with $150,927 and $49,729 in cash on hand going into the primary. State representative Chad Fincher is fourth in fundraising, raising $56,145 and with $64,120 cash on hand going into the primary. Dean Young raised $34,260 — including a $10,000 personal loan to his campaign – and had $23,335 in cash on hand going into the primary.
National political figures are also playing a role in the Republican race. Rick Santorum and the Citizens United Political Victory Fund endorsed columnist Quin Hillyer, conservative outside group GOPAC released a television ad on August 28s in support of state representative Chad Fincher and former vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan endorsed former Republican National Committee staffer Wells Griffith.
If none of the candidates receive more than 50 percent of the vote in the primary elections tomorrow, a special primary runoff election will be held on November 5. If no runoff is required, the general election will take place on November 5. If a primary runoff is required, the general election will get pushed to December 17.
The 1st District is considered a safe Republican seat and has been represented by a Republican since 1964. Despite the shortened term, the winner of the special election to fill Bonner's seat will face re-election in 2014.
- Alabama's 1st Congressional District special election, 2013
- Alabama elections, 2013
- United States House of Representatives
- Special elections to the 113th United States Congress (2013-2014)
- State Poll Opening and Closing Times (2013)
- WKRG, "Crowded Race Tuesday for Ala. Congressional Race," accessed September 22, 2013
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