Difference between revisions of "Alabama's 1st Congressional District special election, 2013"
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===Gay marriage pledge===
===Gay marriage pledge===
A feud within the [[Alabama]] [[Republican Party]] over gay marriage
A feud within the [[Alabama]] [[Republican Party]] over gay marriage over into the [[Alabama's 1st congressional district|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.<ref name="stand">[http://blog.al.com/wire/2013/08/gay_marriage_feud_erupts_in_al.html ''AL.com,'' "Gay marriage feud erupts in AL-01 congressional race," accessed August 22, 2013]</ref> The pledge also supports a proposed change to the [[Alabama|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.<ref name="stand"/>
[[Dean Young|Young]] has described gay marriage as “a corruption which seeks to destroy the concept of the family.”<ref name="stand"/>
[[Dean Young|Young]] has described gay marriage as “a corruption which seeks to destroy the concept of the family.”<ref name="stand"/>
Revision as of 11:01, 18 September 2013
- 1 Candidates
- 2 Race background
- 3 Campaign donors
- 4 Media
- 5 Controversy
- 6 Endorsements
- 7 Forums
- 8 District history
- 9 See also
- 10 External links
- 11 References
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.
Bonner said on July 23, 2013, that he will resign August 2, 2013, instead of August 15, 2013, as originally announced. Gov. Robert Bentley could not call a special election to fill the seat until Bonner vacated the seat and moving up the date allowed 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.
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.
The 1st District is considered a safe Republican seat and has been represented by a Republican since 1964. The winner of the special election to fill Bonner's seat will stand for re-election in 2014.
|Candidate Filing Deadline||Primary Election||Runoff Primary Election||General Election (No runoff primary)||General Election (If runoff primary)|
- Chad Fincher: State representative
- Quin Hillyer: Conservative columnist
- Dean Young: 2012 1st district Republican primary candidate
- Bradley Byrne: 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary candidate
- Jessica James
- Daniel Dyas
- Sharon Powe: Entrepreneur
- Wells Griffith: Deputy Chief-of-Staff to the Republican National Committee
- David "Thunder" Thornton: Retired Shell production specialist
- Lula Albert-Kaigler
- Burton LeFlore
- James Hall
Withdrawn prior to primary
Other rumored candidates included:
- Trip Pittman: State senator
- Bill Hightower: State senator
- Rusty Glover: State senator
- Marc Keahey: State senator
- Napoleon Bracy: State representative
Declined to run
- Vivian Figures: State senator
- Jim Barton: State representative
- Victor Gaston: State representative
- Rusty Glover: State senator
Alabama Democratic Party misses filing deadline
The Alabama Democratic Party missed a filing deadline for candidates, but the secretary of state’s office said those candidates who met a qualifying deadline will still appear on the ballot in September 2013.
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. 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.
“It would have been a bit heavy-handed to play politics with the election schedule,” Bennett wrote. “We try to make nonpartisan decisions.”
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. “No one ever sent it to me, or if they did, I didn’t get it,” she said.
Lawsuit to gain access to ballot
“Ballot access is a precious item and should be treated as such,” Hall said. “However, it should not be restricted to just a Democrat and a Republican.”
For Hall, a first-time candidate, that meant he needed to collect 5,394 signatures by September 24, 2013, and certified by the Alabama Secretary of State’s office. Hall said the shortened time frame for the special election made it impossible to meet that requirement. His lawsuit seeks to lower the total number of signatures needed for ballot access.
“In normal, regularly scheduled elections, an Independent candidate generally has 24 months or more to gather the signatures,” Hall said. “In this special election, we only have a few weeks to collect the same amount of petition signatures.”
Hall said he contacted Alabama Secretary of State’s office after reading that the Alabama Democratic Party missed an August 6, 2013, deadline to submit the names of its qualified candidates. In that instance Alabama Secretary of State Jim Bennett agreed to qualify the Democratic candidates despite the missed deadline, saying it was in the public interest. Hall said Bennett denied his request to lower the number of signatures needed and also declined to extend the deadline for submitting his petition to the state.
“I was told that there was nothing that could be done,” Hall said.
Hall said he was reluctant to pursue litigation, but that he had no other option. His lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, names Bennett as the defendant and includes a second plaintiff.
“The political establishment has a stranglehold on our government and country,” Hall said. “Every day we get closer and closer to firmly establishing an ‘elite political class.’ Restricting ballot access to Independent candidates helps build and maintain that power.”
Republican candidate Dean Young collected the most cash of any of the candidates, according to initial campaign finance reports from July 2013. 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. Nearly all of that money, approximately $129,500, came via a personal loan from Young. Fellow Republican Bradley Byrne led the field in terms of total outside contributions with $75,882. 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.
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. Candidates are not required to register with the FEC until they receive contributions or expenditures in excess of $5,000.
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.
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."
Quin Hillyer's August 2013 radio ad, "Reform," contained a series of reform-minded commitments. 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.
On September 13, 2013, Rick Santorum recorded a radio ad, which was paid for by the Citizens United Political Victory Fund, for Quin Hillyer. The ad will run for 10 days starting on September 13, 2013, as part of a $25,000 buy.
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.”
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. The $30,000 cable and broadcast television ad buy touts Fincher’s conservative record of taking on teachers unions.
“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.”
Bradley Byrne released his first ad of the campaign on August 29, 2013, titled "Courage." The ad highlights his work as chancellor of Alabama’s two-year college system. 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.
Wells Griffith's August 2013 radio ad, "Meet Wells."
Bradley Byrne's second ad, released in September 2013, "Waste."
A week before the September 24, 2013, primary, Byrne released his second ad.
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.”
“Obama’s wasted billions of dollars on boondoggles,” Byrne says in the ad.
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.
Wells Griffith's September 2013 television ad, "The Right Road."
Wells Griffith's second ad, "Fighting for Our Values."
Griffith released his first television ad on September 5, 2013, titled “The Right Road.” 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.
“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.
Griffith released his second television ad of the campaign on September 17, 2013. In the ad, Griffith throws a thick pile of Obamacare pages in the trash bin and says that repealing the law is why he decided to run for the seat. The campaign spent about $18,000 on the 30-second ad.
“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 says in the ad.
Gay marriage pledge
A feud within the Alabama Republican Party over gay marriage spilled 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. 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.
The proposal has opened a generational rift within the party, with younger members opposing the change as divisive and unpopular with voters.
Young distributed of the pledge to his opponents on August 21, 2013. He also reportedly said candidates who support “homosexuals pretending like they’re married” should join the Democratic Party.
“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.”
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.
“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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
“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.”
Hillyer issued the challenge during a candidate forum August 5, 2013, in Gulf Shores, directing it specifically to Dean Young. “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.”
“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.
State Rep. Chad Fincher accursed Hillyer of violating his own pledge just days after issuing it. “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?”
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.
"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.
Republican candidate Wells Griffith picked up a high-profile endorsement from Rep. Paul Ryan on August 7, 2013. "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."
"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.
"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."
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. 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.
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.“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. “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.”
In May 2013, Quin Hillyer received an endorsement from former U.S. Senator and Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum. Santorum announced the endorsement through his Patriot Voices political action committee.
“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.”
“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. “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. ACU said the PAC, which serves as its political arm, supports candidates “who reflect the conservative principles on which ACU was founded.”
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).
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.”
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. There are approximately 10 Common Sense chapters in the south Alabama region with an active membership around 1,400 people.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.
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.
|U.S. House, Alabama District 1 General Election, 2012|
|Republican||Jo Bonner Incumbent||97.9%||196,374|
|Source: Alabama Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"|
|U.S. House, Alabama District 1 General Election, 2010|
|Republican||Jo Bonner incumbent||83%||129,063|
- Special elections to the 113th United States Congress (2013-2014)
- United States House of Representatives elections, 2012
- United States congressional delegations from Alabama
- United States House of Representatives elections in Alabama, 2014
- Jo Bonner (R)
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