Difference between revisions of "Alabama's 1st Congressional District special election, 2013"

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====Remarks about Byrne's daughter====
====Byrne's daughter====
On October 10, 2013, [[Bradley Byrne]] posted on his Facebook account accusing his opponent, [[Dean Young]], of attacking his daughter.<ref name="laura">[http://blog.al.com/wire/2013/10/bradley_byrne_accuses_dean_you.html ''AL.com,'' "Bradley Byrne accuses Dean Young of attacking his daughter," accessed October 15, 2013]</ref>
On October 10, 2013, [[Bradley Byrne]] posted on his Facebook account accusing his opponent, [[Dean Young]], of attacking his daughter.<ref name="laura">[http://blog.al.com/wire/2013/10/bradley_byrne_accuses_dean_you.html ''AL.com,'' "Bradley Byrne accuses Dean Young of attacking his daughter," accessed October 15, 2013]</ref>

Revision as of 16:20, 21 August 2014

Special Elections to the 113th Session of Congress, 2013-2014

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U.S. House
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Other 2013-2014 Election coverage
2014 Congressional Elections2014 U.S. Senate Elections
2014 U.S. House Elections
The 1st Congressional District of Alabama held a special election for the U.S. House in 2013. The primary took place on September 24, 2013. A runoff Republican primary election took place on November 5, and the general election on December 17, 2013.[1]

The special election was held to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Rep. Jo Bonner (R). Bonner resigned to take a job as vice chancellor of government and economic development at the University of Alabama.[2]

Bonner said on July 23, 2013, that he would resign August 2, 2013, instead of August 15, 2013, as originally announced.[3] Gov. Robert Bentley could not call a special election to fill the seat until Bonner vacated the seat. Moving up the date allowed the governor to schedule the special election so that a replacement was elected and seated before the new session of Congress in January 2014.[3]

Alabama is one of 14 states that uses an open primary system, in which registered voters do not have to be members of a party to vote in that party's primary.[4][5][6]

Voters who wished to register and vote in the September 24, 2013, primary elections needed to do so no later than 4:30 p.m. on September 13, 2013.[7]

The 1st District was considered a safe Republican seat and has been represented by a Republican since 1964.[8][9] Bradley Byrne (R), the winner of the special election, faces re-election in 2014.[10]

Candidate Filing Deadline Primary Election Runoff Primary Election General Election (If runoff primary)
August 5, 2013
September 24, 2013
November 5, 2013
December 17, 2013


General Election Candidates

Did not qualify

Failed to file

Republican primary

The following candidates all qualified and filed to run for the seat.[15][16]

Nov. 5 Republican runoff primary

Note: No candidate secured more than 50 percent of the vote in the September 24, 2013, primary election. A runoff primary election was held on November 5, 2013. Byrne advances to the general election on December 17, 2013.

Democratic primary

The following candidates qualified and filed to run for the seat.[30][16]

Withdrawn prior to primary

Rumored candidates

Other rumored candidates included:

Declined to run

Election results

Primary Elections

Democratic Primary

U.S. House, Alabama District 1 Special Democratic Primary, 2013
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngBurton LeFlore 70.2% 3,129
Lula Albert-Kaigler 29.8% 1,328
Total Votes 4,457
Source: Unofficial results via Associated Press[37]

Republican Primary

U.S. House, Alabama District 1 Republican Primary, 2013
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngBradley Byrne 34.6% 18,090
Green check mark transparent.pngDean Young 23% 12,011
Chad Fincher 15.6% 8,177
Qyin Hillyer 13.9% 7,260
Wells Griffith 11% 5,758
Daniel Dyas 0.7% 391
Jessica James 0.7% 391
Sharon Powe 0.4% 184
David Thornton 0.1% 72
Total Votes 52,334
Source: Unofficial results via Associated Press[38]

Republican Runoff Primary

U.S. House, Alabama District 1 Special Runoff Republican Primary, 2013
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngBradley Byrne 52.5% 38,150
Dean Young 47.5% 34,534
Total Votes 72,684
Source: Unofficial results via Associated Press[39]


Republican runoff primary
Poll Bradley Byrne Dean YoungUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Cygnal Polling
October 30, 2013
Wenzel Strategies
October 6-8, 2013
AVERAGES 43.5% 38.5% 18% +/-1.52 719.5
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org
Note: The margin of error in the October 6-8 poll by Wenzel Strategies was not published with the results of the poll.

Republican primary
Poll Bradley Byrne Chad FincherDean YoungQuin HillyerWells GriffithDaniel DyasSharon PoweJessica JamesDavid ThorntonUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Cygnal Polling
September 17-18, 2013
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org

Campaign donors

October 2013

In the time between the Republican primary and the runoff primary, Byrne vastly outraised Young, who ran a low-budget, grass roots-focused campaign. As of October 16, 2013, Byrne had taken in nearly $690,000 to Young’s $260,000.[40]

Young's campaign did attract national attention from the tea party. A super PAC affiliated with Sharron Angle of Nevada spent about $65,000 backing Young's campaign leading up to the runoff primary.[41]

September 2013

Bradley Byrne raised $241,363 between July 1, 2013, and September 4, 2013, and had $183,629 cash on hand going into the primary.[42] That is almost $80,000 more than Wells Griffith, who raised the second-highest amount during the same period.[42] Griffith raised $162,250 and had $87,730 in cash on hand going into the primary.[42]

Quin Hillyer raised the third-highest with $150,927 and $49,729 in cash on hand going into the primary.[42] State representative Chad Fincher is fourth in fundraising, raising $56,145 and with $64,120 cash on hand going into the primary.[42] 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.[42]

July 2013

Republican candidate Dean Young collected the most cash of any of the candidates, according to initial campaign finance reports from July 2013.[43] Young's total of $133,087 was by far the most of any of the five candidates who submitted paperwork to the Federal Election Commission.[43] Nearly all of that money, approximately $129,500, came via a personal loan from Young.[43] Fellow Republican Bradley Byrne led the field in terms of total outside contributions with $75,882.[43] Quin Hillyer reported raising $62,779 as of July 2013, with Chad Fincher reported raising $45,890, including a $10,000 loan, and Jessica James reported raising $2,750.[43]

Republican candidates Randy Davis, Daniel Dyas, and Wells Griffith, as well as Independent candidate James Hall, did not file finance reports as of the FEC's quarterly in July 2013.[43] Candidates are not required to register with the FEC until they receive contributions or expenditures in excess of $5,000.[43]


General election

Bradley Byrne's December 2013 ad, "Byrne Matters."

A week before the general election between Bradley Byrne and Burton LeFlore, Byrne launched an ad reminding voters of the election.[44]

The ad did not mention LeFlore, and instead focused on the health care overhaul.[44]

A narrator decries the “Washington mess” and vows, “Bradley Byrne will fight to clean it up. The courage to lead when the stakes are high.”[44]

“When it comes to America’s future, I won’t back down,” Bryne said in the ad.[44]

Republican runoff primary

Bradley Byrne

On October 10, 2013, Bradley Byrne released his first ad since the September 24, 2013, Republican primary.[45]The new ad, titled "Blessed," highlights his Mobile roots as the son of a truck salesman and a bookkeeper.[45]

Jan Young's October 2013 ad for her husband.

Bradley Byrne's October 2013 ad, "Blessed."

"Alabama is full of hard-working people like my folks who deserve a government that spends less," Byrne says in the ad.[45]

Dean Young

Young's wife, Jan, released an ad for her husband on October 20, 2013, in which she proclaimed that if elected he would be one of the most conservative members of Congress.[46]

Quin Hillyer

Republican candidate Quin Hillyer released the first televised campaign ads in the race for Alabama's 1st Congressional District in early June 2013.[47]

A campaign spokesman for Hillyer said the 30-second ad appeared on network and cable channels across the district.[47]

Quin Hillyer's ad featuring Fred Barnes, "Trusted."

Citizens United Political Victory Fund and Rick Santorum's ad, "True Conservative."

Quin Hillyer's first ad of the campaign, "It's Time."

The ad, entitled "It's Time," accuses the Obama administration of betraying the public trust and says Hillyer will bring Alabama values to Washington, D.C.[47]

Quin Hillyer's August 2013 radio ad, "Reform," contained a series of reform-minded commitments.[48] Among them: Hillyer's pledge to serve no more than five full terms in office and not to use the congressional seat as a springboard to run for higher office as governor.[48]

Hillyer also said he will never work as a paid lobbyist after leaving Congress and repeated an earlier pledge not to run negative campaign ads.[48]

On September 13, 2013, Rick Santorum recorded a radio ad, paid for by the Citizens United Political Victory Fund, for Quin Hillyer.[49] The ad will run for 10 days starting on September 13, 2013, as part of a $25,000 buy.[49]

In the ad, Santorum said he is “proud to support a true conservative — Quin Hillyer for Congress — because he shares my values. Quin Hillyer supports defunding Obamacare and opposes raising the debt ceiling for Obama’s reckless spending.”[49]

Less than a week before the primary election, Hillyer picked up an endorsement in an ad from Fred Barnes, the Weekly Standard editor and Fox News commentator.[50]

GOPAC's August 2013 ad, "Chad Fincher: He Wins the Tough Ones."

The ad, released September 18, 2013, begins, “Hi. I’m Fred Barnes. I watch Alabama closely. My son went to school there and my daughter married an Alabama boy.”

Barnes then adds: “More and more top conservative reformers are joining me in supporting Mobile’s Quin Hillyer for Congress. He is a man with integrity and strong conservative principles. He also brings real know how and experience, and has a proven record of reforming Washington.”[50]

GOPAC for Chad Fincher

The conservative outside group GOPAC, once chaired by Newt Gingrich, released a 30-second television ad on August 28, 2013, in support of state representative Chad Fincher.[51] The $30,000 cable and broadcast television ad buy touts Fincher’s conservative record of taking on teachers unions.[51]

“Rep. Fincher has a long record of fighting for conservative policies and sound economic principles,” GOPAC Chairman Frank Donatelli said in a news release. “We know that he is a tested leader and does not back down from a fight against liberal special interests. We need his continued leadership in Washington.”[51]

Bradley Byrne

Bradley Byrne released his first ad of the campaign on August 29, 2013, titled "Courage."[52] The ad highlights his work as chancellor of Alabama’s two-year college system.[52] The $47,000 spot will air on broadcast for the week of September 3, 2013, and on cable beginning August 30, 2013, through September 9, 2013.[53]

Bradley Byrne's second ad, released in September 2013, "Waste."

Bradley Byrne's first ad of the campaign, "Courage."

A week before the September 24, 2013, primary, Byrne released his second ad.[54]

The $60,000 buy, split between broadcast and cable television, seeks to contrast Byrne with President Barack Obama by citing government spending on “robotic squirrels,” “money for a circus foundation,” and a “futuristic food menu from Mars.”[54]

“Obama’s wasted billions of dollars on boondoggles,” Byrne said in the ad.[54]

Wells Griffith

Wells Griffith, a former deputy chief of staff for the Republican National Committee, aired a radio ad released August 22, 2013, that highlights his Mobile roots and his opposition to the policies of President Barack Obama.[48]

Griffith also pledged to refuse congressional healthcare until the Affordable Care Act is defeated.[48]

Wells will refuse to take a taxpayer funded health insurance plan,” the ad says.[48]

Griffith released his first television ad on September 5, 2013, titled “The Right Road.”[55] The 30-second ad features Griffith vowing to fix Washington and cut federal spending and is set at his family’s landmark service station on Government Street in Mobile, Alabama.[55]

Wells Griffith's September 2013 television ad, "The Right Road."

Wells Griffith's second ad, "Fighting for Our Values."

Wells Griffith's August 2013 radio ad, "Meet Wells."

“I know that I can teach the folks in Washington a few things about customer service – things I learned right here in my family’s gas station,” Griffith says in the ad.[55]

Griffith released his second television ad of the campaign on September 17, 2013.[56] In the ad, Griffith threw a thick pile of Obamacare pages in the trash bin and said that repealing the law is why he decided to run for the seat.[56] The campaign spent about $18,000 on the 30-second ad.[56]

“This document, Obamacare, is why I’m running for Congress. Because we won’t get back to creating jobs until these thousands of pages of economic destruction are relegated to the trash pile of history,” Griffith said in the ad.[56]


John Boehner as speaker

Dean Young said on November 2, 2013, that he would not support another term for John Boehner as Speaker of the U.S. House.[57]

"I wouldn't vote for him," said Young. He did not specify who he would like to see become speaker, but he said the House GOP needs "somebody up there that will get the country moving back in the right direction," not someone who will "keep giving in with the same old, same old establishment Republicans."[57]

Death of Byrne's brother

On October 23, 2013, Bradley Byrne's brother, Dale, who had been ill for some time, suffered a heart attack and was transferred from Providence Hospital to USA Medical Center, where he was placed on a ventilator.[58] According to campaign manager Alex Schriver, the Byrne family was at Dale's bedside, and canceled all campaign events scheduled for October 24, 2013.[58][59]

"A few minutes ago, the doctors called the family to come to his bedside. He is expected to pass this morning," Schriver said in an email on October 24, 2013.[58]

Government shutdown

See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Bradley Byrne and Dean Young both blamed President Barack Obama for a shutdown of the federal government in October 2013.[60]

“American people do not want a shutdown and they do not want Obamacare,” said Byrne. “They want their government to work for them and not against them. We must stop kicking the can down the road as a country and solve these problems by cutting spending and balancing the budget...The President’s failed leadership on this is exactly why we must send a qualified problem solver to Washington who will get things done.”[60]

“I do not think a government shutdown is the end of the world,” Young said. “In 1995 and 1996 we saw shutdowns over the funding of Medicare which helped bring about the 1997 balanced budget deal followed by the first four consecutive balanced budgets since the 1920’s. My, how we could use some of that wisdom today.”[60]

Young said his greater concern was the broken system of government in Washington, D.C., and said his background in business made him better prepared to fix problems in Congress than Byrne's background in elected office.[60]

“Here we are playing games over serious issues like cutting spending, reforming healthcare and funding government,” Young said. “We need regular citizens who care about solving problems leading our country and not career politicians who are interested in fighting over headlines.”[60]


Byrne's daughter

On October 10, 2013, Bradley Byrne posted on his Facebook account accusing his opponent, Dean Young, of attacking his daughter.[61]

“They’ve attacked my faith and religion repeatedly, and have even stooped so low to attack my youngest daughter, Laura, and her employer. They’ve lied about my record and my positions on numerous issues – but worst of all they’ve attacked my family and my faith. These types of personal attacks show how desperate Dean Young and his campaign are,” Byrne wrote.[61]

Young disputed Byrne’s accusation, saying he’d made no mention of Byrne’s family and that he cautioned his campaign supporters not to make any personal comments about Byrne.[61]

“I’ve never said a word about his family. I don't even know who his daughter is,” Young said in an interview. "That's not what I'm about."[61]


Republican candidates

Republican runoff primary

Immediately following the Republican primary on September 24, 2013, Quin Hillyer endorsed Bradley Byrne.[62]

"His whole family has been a friend of mine for 15 years," Hillyer said after meeting with Byrne's supporters following the primary election. "I think the world of them."[62]

"I think this is one of the best things that happened to us tonight," Byrne said in response to the endorsement from Hillyer.[62]

Former Rep. Jo Bonner endorsed Byrne on October 18, 2013.[63] Byrne also received an endorsement from State Rep. Chad Fincher.[64]

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsed former State Sen. Bradley Byrne on October 29, 2013.[65]

Young picked up endorsements from the Christian Coalition of Alabama and the Eagle Forum.[66]

Pro Ted Cruz super PAC

Young promised while campaigning to be a “Ted Cruz congressman,” but the Ending Spending PAC, one of Ted Cruz's biggest backers in 2012, announced its support for Young's opponent, Bradley Byrne.[67]

Chad Fincher

GOPAC, a national political group that works to promote young Republican leaders announced it would step up its efforts on behalf of state Representative Chad Fincher.[51] GOPAC, which describes itself as "the premier training organization for Republican candidates,” endorsed Fincher as a candidate and began distributing campaign cards touting Fincher to voters across the district in southwest Alabama.[51]

GOPAC said in a news release in August 2013 that Fincher is the first candidate to be highlighted in its new “Called Up” program, which promotes promising state and local leaders to higher office.[51]“Much like in Major League Baseball, we have diligently worked to foster the talents of young leaders and build a deep bench of battle-tested candidates,” GOPAC Chairman Frank Donatelli said in a news release. "These rising conservative stars have proven themselves on the state and local levels, and it is now time to call them up to higher office.”

Donatelli said GOPAC chose Fincher because of his longtime involvement in the organization’s training programs.[51] “Throughout his career in the Alabama Legislature, Fincher has proven his stalwart dedication to free-market conservatism and smaller, more effective government,” Donatelli said. “That commitment, as well as his effectiveness and experience as a legislator, truly separates Fincher from the rest of the field and has prepared him to serve as a capable and skilled Congressman.”[51]

GOPAC has not released how much it is spending on the campaign or how many cards it is mailing on behalf of Fincher.[51]

Quin Hillyer

In May 2013, Quin Hillyer received an endorsement from former U.S. Senator and Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum.[49][68] Santorum announced the endorsement through his Patriot Voices political action committee.[49]

“I’ve gotten to know Quin over the last few years and have been enormously impressed with his willingness to fearlessly and without hesitation advance the conservative cause,” Santorum said in a written statement. “As a critic of Washington business-as-usual, Quin will bring that same courageous approach as an advocate for free markets, limited government and reform of the welfare and tax system to Congress.”[49]

Hillyer picked up an endorsement from the American Conservative Union’s political action committee in August 2013.[69]

Quin Hillyer stands out among the candidates for Alabama’s First District as a principled conservative who will bring Alabama’s values to Washington rather than the other way around,” said ACU Chairman Al Cardenas.[69] “As a commentator and author, Quin Hillyer has dedicated his career to advancing conservative principles of limited government and traditional values through the written word. We urge conservatives in Alabama’s First District to give Quin Hillyer the opportunity to put those words into action by voting for him in the special election on September 24.”

The Washington-based ACU was founded in 1964 by the late William F. Buckley, Jr. The group is known for its annual ranking of members of Congress, based on their votes on conservative issues.[69] ACU said the PAC, which serves as its political arm, supports candidates “who reflect the conservative principles on which ACU was founded.”[69]

Dean Young

Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore wrote a letter praising Dean Young on June 4, 2013.[70]

“I know you to be a man of great ability as well as one of the highest moral and ethical standards. I know you will do an outstanding job representing the people of our great state,” Moore wrote.[70]


A forum for congressional candidates in the 1st District took place on August 6, 2013. Seven candidates participated including: Bradley Byrne (R), Daniel Dyas (R), Chad Fincher (R), James Hall (I), Quin Hillyer (R), Jessica James (R) and Dean Young (R).[71]

Notably, Republican candidate Wells Griffith was absent from the forum, instead chosing to attend a baseball game Hank Aaron Stadium.[72]

Griffith campaign spokesman Rob Lockwood said, “We were considering this debate because it was designed as an opportunity to promote an agenda and vision, not insert the campaign into a format that champions Republicans fighting against each other on stage. The 2012 elections proved that debates designed to pit candidates against each other – like this new format does – caters to too much negativity.”[72]

Another forum took place on September 16, 2013, sponsored by the North Baldwin County chapter of the Common Sense Campaign, an arm of the Tea Party.[73] There are approximately 10 Common Sense chapters in the south Alabama region with an active membership around 1,400 people.[73]The forum began with a "meet the candidates" event. Voters were given an opportunity to ask each candidate a question about their policies, goals and objectives.[73]

The final in a series of three debates in three days took place on September 18, 2013.[74]

The debate was sponsored by the Eastern Shore Republican Women, one of the largest GOP clubs in south Alabama.[74]

District history

Candidate ballot access
Ballot Access Requirements Final.jpg

Find detailed information on ballot access requirements in all 50 states and Washington D.C.


See also: United States House of Representatives elections in Alabama, 2012

Jo Bonner won re-election to the 1st Congressional District in 2012. He defeated Peter Gounares, Pete Riehm and Dean Young in the March 13 Republican primary election and was unopposed in the November 6 general election.[75]

U.S. House, Alabama District 1 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngJo Bonner Incumbent 97.9% 196,374
     N/A Write-In 2.1% 4,302
Total Votes 200,676
Source: Alabama Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"


On November 2, 2010, Jo Bonner won re-election to the United States House. He defeated David Walter (Constitution) in the general election.[76]

U.S. House, Alabama District 1 General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngJo Bonner incumbent 83% 129,063
     Constitution David Walter 17% 26,357
Total Votes 155,420

See also

External links


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  2. blog.al.com, "BREAKING: Rep. Jo Bonner resigning from Congress," May 23, 2013
  3. 3.0 3.1 Tuscaloosa News, "Jo Bonner to resign two weeks earlier than planned" accessed July 25, 2013
  4. National Conference of State Legislatures Website, "State Primary Election Types," accessed January 6, 2014
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  6. Ballotpedia research conducted December 26, 2013, through January 3, 2014, researching and analyzing various state websites and codes.
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  11. Ballot Access, "James Hall, Alabama Independent Candidate, Appeals Ballot Access Case," accessed December 17, 2013
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  14. Railey for Office Facebook Page, "Home," accessed September 24, 2013
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