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

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===GOPAC for Chad Fincher===
===GOPAC for Chad Fincher===
{{youtube|title=Lkr7rnfHtLM|size=250|caption=Bradley Byrne's first ad of the campaign, "Courage."}}
{{youtube|title=Kso5uOBVyjU|size=250|caption=Bradley Byrne's first ad of the campaign, "Courage."}}
{{youtube|title=3VpmSKOqdl4|size=250|caption=GOPAC's August 2013 ad, "Chad Fincher: He Wins the Tough Ones."}}
{{youtube|title=3VpmSKOqdl4|size=250|caption=GOPAC's August 2013 ad, "Chad Fincher: He Wins the Tough Ones."}}

Revision as of 13:48, 13 September 2013

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

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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 will hold a special election for the U.S. House in 2013. The primary will be September 24, followed by a runoff primary election, if necessary, on November 5. If no runoff is required, the general election will instead happen on November 5. If there is a runoff, the general election will get pushed to December 17.[1]

The special election will be 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 will 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 vacates the seat and moving up the date will allow the governor to schedule the special election so that a replacement can be elected and seated before the new session of Congress begins 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 wishing to register and vote in the September 24, 2013, primary elections need to do so no later than 4:30 p.m. on September 13, 2013.[7]

The 1st District is considered a safe Republican seat and has been represented by a Republican since 1964.[8][9] The winner of the special election to fill Bonner's seat will stand for re-election in 2014.[10]

Candidate Filing Deadline Primary Election Runoff Primary Election General Election (No runoff primary) General Election (If runoff primary)
August 5, 2013
September 24, 2013
November 5, 2013
November 5, 2013
December 17, 2013


The following candidates have all qualified and filed to run for the seat.[11][12]

Withdrawn prior to primary

Rumored candidates

Other rumored candidates included:

Declined to run

Race background

Alabama Democratic Party misses filing deadline

The Alabama Democratic Party missed a filing deadline for candidates, but the secretary of state’s office says those candidates who met a qualifying deadline will still appear on the ballot in September 2013.[8]

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 two candidates to run in the south Alabama district.[8] However, Bennett said they would “err on the side of caution” and allow the qualified candidates -- Lula Albert-Kaigler and Burton LeFlore — on the ballot.[8]

“It would have been a bit heavy-handed to play politics with the election schedule,” Bennett wrote. “We try to make nonpartisan decisions.”[8]

The deadline for qualifying was 5 p.m. August 5, 2013 and the parties were required to submit their lists of candidates to the Secretary of State by noon August 6, 2013.[8] Nancy Worley, the acting chairwoman of the Alabama Democratic Party, said on August 7, 2013, she did not receive notification of the deadline and that she did not know about it until she was contacted by a legislator and by staff at the secretary of state’s office about it.[8] “No one ever sent it to me, or if they did, I didn’t get it,” she said.[8]

Campaign donors

July 2013

Republican candidate Dean Young collected the most cash of any of the candidates, according to initial campaign finance reports from July 2013.[31] 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.[31] Nearly all of that money, approximately $129,500, came via a personal loan from Young.[31] Fellow Republican Bradley Byrne led the field in terms of total outside contributions with $75,882.[31] 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.[31]

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.[31] Candidates are not required to register with the FEC until they receive contributions or expenditures in excess of $5,000.[31]

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.[32] That is almost $80,000 more than Wells Griffith, who raised the second-highest amount during the same period.[32] Griffith raised $162,250 and had $87,730 in cash on hand going into the primary.[32]

Quin Hillyer raised the third-highest with $150,927 and $49,729 in cash on hand going into the primary.[32] State representative Chad Fincher is fourth in fundraising, raising $56,145 and with $64,120 cash on hand going into the primary.[32] Dean Youngraised $34,260 — including a $10,000 personal loan to his campaign – and had $23,335 in cash on hand going into the primary.[32]


Quin Hillyer

Citizens United Political Victory Fund and Rick Santorum's September 2013 ad, "True Conservative."

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

Republican candidate Quin Hillyer released the first televised campaign ads in the race for Alabama's 1st congressional district in early June 2013.[33]

A campaign spokesman for Hillyer said the 30-second ad appeared on network and cable channels across the district.[33]

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.[33]

Quin Hillyer's August 2013 radio ad, "Reform," contained a series of reform-minded commitments.[34] 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.[34]

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.[34]

On September 13, 2013, Rick Santorum recorded a radio ad, which was paid for by the Citizens United Political Victory Fund, for Quin Hillyer.[35] The ad will run for 10 days starting on September 13, 2013, as part of a $25,000 buy.[35]

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.”[35]

GOPAC for Chad Fincher

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

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

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.[36] The $30,000 cable and broadcast television ad buy touts Fincher’s conservative record of taking on teachers unions.[36]

“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.”[36]

Bradley Byrne

Bradley Byrne released his first ad of the campaign on August 29, 2013, titled "Courage."[37] The ad highlights his work as chancellor of Alabama’s two-year college system.[37] 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.[38]

Wells Griffith

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

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

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.[34]

Griffith also pledges to refuse congressional healthcare until the Affordable Care Act is defeated.[34]

Wells will refuse to take a taxpayer funded health insurance plan,” the ad says.[34]

Griffith released his first television ad on September 5, 2013, titled “The Right Road.”[39] 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.[39]

“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.[39]


Gay marriage pledge

A feud within the Alabama Republican Party over gay marriage is spilling over into the 1st District congressional race, where Republican candidate Dean Young has issued a challenge to his opponents to sign a pledge saying that, if elected to Congress, they will take active steps to oppose gay marriage.[40] The pledge also supports a proposed change to the state's Republican Party’s bylaws that would expel any member of the party’s steering committee who takes a public position in favor of gay marriage – or any other position counter to the party platform.[40]

Young has described gay marriage as “a corruption which seeks to destroy the concept of the family.”[40]

The proposal has opened a generational rift within the party, with younger members opposing the change as divisive and unpopular with voters.[40]

Young distributed of the pledge to his opponents on August 21, 2013.[40] He also reportedly said candidates who support “homosexuals pretending like they’re married” should join the Democratic Party.[40]

“I applaud our party’s leadership because the moral fabric of our society is torn and we must stand united” said Young. “We have a President and a liberal Supreme Court that is turning our country upside down. As people of faith in Alabama we must be leaders. We must be united against those who wish to destroy our moral foundation. There is only one marriage; a divine unity between a man and a woman ordained by God in holy matrimony.”[40]

After receiving media attention for his pledge, Young said he is not “anti-gay” and that his purpose in calling for his fellow Republicans to pledge support is based on solid moral and historical principles.[41]

“We’re very close to being at the end of our nation. If we don’t support the godly principles that made this nation great, then we’re going to lose this nation. This shouldn’t even be a political question. I thought it would be a very simple thing to have the candidates come together and support marriage as being one man and one woman,” Young said.[41]

Young has explained his purpose is “to show solidarity in the Republican Party” and admits to being taken aback by the amount of attention his call for a pro-family pledge has received.[41]

“I had no idea that the response from my fellow candidates would be what it has been. I had no idea that this would turn into a national onslaught and that the Huffington Post and other liberal papers would think that’s such a bizarre thing that I did,” he said.[41]

He said it is important for lawmakers to have solid moral principles.

“We need to send to Washington [those who] will stand up for what made this country great. If we can’t stand up for the family unit, beginning with what makes a marriage, then I don’t think a person needs to go to Washington,” Young said.[41]

No negative pledge

Quin Hillyer, one of nine Republicans in the race, pledged not to run a single negative ad against any competitor on television, radio, or in print – and called on his competitors to do the same in August 2013.[42]

“This quick election to join Congress mid-stream should focus exclusively on who best knows the issues and best understands the job, not on who most effectively can slime his opponents,” said Hillyer. “A clean, issues-oriented campaign will let the voters see the candidates for who they really are.”[42]

Hillyer issued the challenge during a candidate forum August 5, 2013, in Gulf Shores, directing it specifically to Dean Young.[42] “Will you also make that pledge – that you will not run these negative, slime ball ads against any of these good people up here?” Hillyer said.

Young responded by saying, “When I said I was going to run, I got a call from Quin that day and he asked me” about the pledge. It’s the same answer. I don’t deviate. The answer is this: I’m going to tell the truth. Now, Barack Obama would think I’m an extremely negative guy…The question is, will I tell the truth? You can count on it. Now, what you perceive as negative – that’s in the eye of the beholder.”[42]

In follow-up a week later, just one Republican candidate said he would accept the pledge.[42] “I will act with integrity and will not resort to negative, personal attacks,” said Daniel Dyas (R).[42]

“I plan to run a race focused on the issues of concern to the voters in Alabama's 1st Congressional District, and I will be emphasizing my strong conservative viewpoint on these issues,” said Jessica James.[42]

State Rep. Chad Fincher accursed Hillyer of violating his own pledge just days after issuing it.[42] “Taking a ‘no-negative’ pledge is sometimes a popular campaign tactic to gain media attention by a candidate but who determines what is negative?” Fincher said. “After taking that pledge, Quin has already been quoted attacking Paul Ryan. Is that breaking the pledge?”[42]

Hillyer responded that his comments about Ryan were consistent with his pledge. Hillyer also extended his challenge to area TV stations, calling on them to air a candidate debate before the end of August 2013.[42]

"The sooner the whole public gets to see the candidates discussing real issues side by side, before the campaign consultants have time to coach them on clever but irrelevant sound bites, the truer a picture the voters will see of which candidate is actually ready to hit the ground running in Congress," Hillyer said.[42]


Republican candidates

Wells Griffith

Republican candidate Wells Griffith picked up a high-profile endorsement from Rep. Paul Ryan on August 7, 2013.[43] "I've known Wells Griffith for a long time and consider him a true friend," said Ryan. "Wells is committed to moving our country and our party forward. His dedication to advancing conservative principles is admirable and he will be a strong conservative voice for South Alabama."[43]

That set off one of Griffith’s challengers, columnist Quin Hillyer, who attacked Ryan for his views on immigration and labor relations.[44]

"Alabama's economy is dependent on being a right to work state, but Ryan keeps adding to a long record of limiting employee freedom and driving up costs via support for the horrible Davis-Bacon law and other suck-ups to union bosses," Hillyer said.

Hillyer also accused Ryan of abandoning conservatives in Congress. He sharply criticized Ryan for his efforts to strike a deal to pass immigration reform in the House.[45]

"I have been a longtime admirer of Paul Ryan, but he has increasingly proved to be a disappointment and out of touch with Alabama values," Hillyer said. "Ryan is the driving force in the House for amnesty, against the principles laid out by our own Senator Jeff Sessions. If one of my opponents wants a leftward-moving Paul Ryan, he can have him."[45]

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.[36] 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.[36]

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.[36]“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.[36] “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.”[36]

GOPAC has not released how much it is spending on the campaign or how many cards it is mailing on behalf of Fincher.[36]

Quin Hillyer

In May 2013, Quin Hillyer received an endorsement from former U.S. Senator and Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum.[35][46] Santorum announced the endorsement through his Patriot Voices political action committee.[35]

“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.”[35]

Hillyer picked up an endorsement from the American Conservative Union’s political action committee in August 2013.[47]

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.[47] “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.[47] ACU said the PAC, which serves as its political arm, supports candidates “who reflect the conservative principles on which ACU was founded.”[47]


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).[48]

Notably, Republican candidate Wells Griffith was absent from the forum, instead chosing to attend a baseball game Hank Aaron Stadium.[49]

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.”[49]

District history


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 the March 13 Republican primary election and was unopposed in the November 6 general election.[50]

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.[51]

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


  1. Governor of Alabama "Governor Bentley Announces Court-Approved Timeline for Special Election in 1st Congressional District" Accessed July 30, 2013
  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
  5. Fair Vote, "Congressional and Presidential Primaries: Open, Closed, Semi-Closed, and 'Top Two,'" accessed January 6, 2014
  6. Ballotpedia research conducted December 26, 2013, through January 3, 2014, researching and analyzing various state websites and codes.
  7. AL.com, "Sept. 13 is voter registration deadline for AL-01 special election," accessed September 4, 2013
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 Montgomery Advertiser, "Democrats who missed filing deadline will still be on ballot," Accessed August 8, 2013
  9. Roll Call "Top Republican to Enter Alabama Special Election #AL01" Accessed June 10, 2013
  10. AL.com "9 Republicans, 2 Democrats qualify for AL-01 congressional race" Accessed August 6, 2013
  11. blog.al.com, "The list: Who's in, who's out of AL-01 congressional race," June 6, 2013
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 Miami Herald "9 Republicans, 2 Democrats to run in US House race" Accessed August 6, 2013
  13. AL.com "State Rep. Chad Fincher launches bid for AL-01 congressional seat" Accessed June 19, 2013
  14. 14.0 14.1 National Journal "Five Names To Know In Alabama 01" Accessed June 10,2 013
  15. Daily Caller "Conservative columnist jumping into Alabama congressional race" Accessed May 23, 2013
  16. Conservative HQ "Conservative Quin Hillyer Announces For Congress" Accessed May 24, 2013
  17. AL.com "Rep. Jo Bonner resignation stuns constituents, sparks candidates" Accessed May 24, 2013
  18. The American Spectator "Laying Down My Pen" Accessed May 24, 2013
  19. blog.al.com, "Republican Dean Young to run for AL-01 congressional seat," May 29, 2013
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Roll Call "Jo Bonner to Resign From Congress Soon (Updated) #AL01" Accessed June 10, 2013
  21. blog.al.com "Jessica James launches bid for AL-01 congressional seat," May 30, 2013
  22. Atmore News "James announces candidacy for 1st Congressional District" Accessed July 5, 2013
  23. Al.com "Daniel Dyas launches bid for AL-01 congressional seat" Accessed July 5, 2013
  24. AL.com "Republican Wells Griffith to run for AL-01 congressional seat" Accessed July 10, 2013
  25. Atmore Advance, "LeFlore enters U.S. congressional race," accessed August 26, 2013
  26. blog.al.com "First-time candidate James Hall to run for AL-01 congressional seat," June 6, 2013
  27. blog.al.com, "State Rep. Randy Davis launches bid for AL-01 congressional seat," June 4, 2013
  28. ABC News "Rep. Davis out of race in Alabama's 1s District" Accessed August 6, 2013
  29. The Republic "9 Republicans, 2 Democrats qualify to run for vacant south Alabama US Congressional seat" Accessed August 6, 2013
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 30.3 30.4 30.5 AL.com "The list: Who's in, who's out of AL-01 congressional race" Accessed June 19, 2013
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 31.3 31.4 31.5 31.6 AL.com "Cash contributions in AL-01 congressional race" Accessed July 16, 2013
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 32.4 32.5 Roll Call, "Byrne Leads Special Election Fundraising Race | #AL01," accessed September 13, 2013
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 AL.com, "Republican Quin Hillyer airs TV ad in AL-01 congressional race," accessed August 19, 2013
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 34.3 34.4 34.5 AL.com, "Check out the campaign ads in AL-01 congressional race," accessed August 29, 2013
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 35.3 35.4 35.5 Politico, "Rick Santorum offers help in Alabama race," accessed September 13, 2013
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 36.3 36.4 36.5 36.6 36.7 36.8 Roll Call, "GOPAC Goes Up With Ad in Alabama House Special | #AL01," accessed August 29, 2013
  37. 37.0 37.1 AL.com, "Bradley Byrne hits the airwaves in AL-01 congressional race," accessed August 29, 2013
  38. Roll Call, "Ad War Heats Up in Alabama House Special | #AL01," accessed August 30, 2013
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 Al.com, "Wells Griffith hits the airwaves in AL-01 congressional campaign," accessed September 5, 2013
  40. 40.0 40.1 40.2 40.3 40.4 40.5 40.6 AL.com, "Gay marriage feud erupts in AL-01 congressional race," accessed August 22, 2013
  41. 41.0 41.1 41.2 41.3 41.4 WND.com, "Bull's-eye on candidate for supporting marriage," accessed September 2, 2013
  42. 42.00 42.01 42.02 42.03 42.04 42.05 42.06 42.07 42.08 42.09 42.10 Al.com, "Alabama congressional candidates reject 'no negative' pledge," accessed August 12, 2013
  43. 43.0 43.1 Al.com "Rep. Paul Ryan backs Wells Griffith in AL-01 congressional race" Accessed August 7, 2013
  44. Madison.com, "Paul Ryan ripped by conservative after endorsement in Alabama congressional race," accessed August 19, 2013
  45. 45.0 45.1 AL.com, "Paul Ryan starts a ruckus in Alabama congressional race," accessed August 19, 2013
  46. The American Spectator, "Rick Santorum endorses Quin Hillyer," accessed August 19, 2013
  47. 47.0 47.1 47.2 47.3 AL.com, "American Conservative Union backs Quin Hillyer for Congress," accessed August 19, 2013
  48. Yellow Hammer News "9 takeaways from last night’s AL-01 congressional candidates forum" Accessed August 6, 2013
  49. 49.0 49.1 WWNT Radio "Griffith a ‘no show’ at candidate forum, blows prime opportunity from Yellowhammer.com" Accessed August 7, 2013
  50. ABC News "2012 General Election Results"
  51. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013