Today’s runoff election in the Alabama GOP gubernatorial primary features a stealth Democrat backed by the state’s powerful teachers union:
Top Alabama Republicans are scrambling to rally around gubernatorial candidate Bradley Byrne, concluding that remaining on the sidelines in Tuesday’s primary runoff would aid and abet Democratic prospects in the fall – and potentially beyond.
Over the past four days, Gov. Bob Riley and two of the state’s congressmen publicly signaled their support for Byrne, while Sen. Jeff Sessions sent a letter to the state party chairman, complaining about “negative campaign ads that unfairly distort the record” of Byrne, former chancellor of the state’s two-year college system.
This last-ditch, election eve effort for Byrne is in direct response to fears that state Rep. Robert Bentley, a physician, is too closely aligned with the Alabama Education Association, which is headed by two vice chairmen of the state Democratic Party.
Sessions has gone so far as to accuse top AEA official and Democratic power broker Paul Hubbert of infiltrating the GOP primary by pouring millions of dollars into ads attacking Byrne.
Meanwhile, in Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District, Montgomery City Commissioner Martha Roby faces businessman Rick Barber in the GOP runoff for the chance to take on Democratic Rep. Bobby Bright in November. Although Roby is heavily favored — she got 48 percent of the vote in last month’s four-candidate primary — Barber has gained national attention with provocative TV ads.
One of Barber’s ads was denounced by Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus as “[e]mblematic of the dangerous take-back-our-country rhetoric that is spread on the conservative airwaves and fueling the Tea Partyers.” Barber responded Saturday with an op-ed column in the Post:
I take Barack Obama at his word that he wants to fundamentally transform America. His actions, words and policy suggest that he doesn’t much care for the free market or our American heritage. I am one who doesn’t believe that America needs fundamental transformation. . . .
Whenever the government grows, individual liberty withers. And there seems to be no area of commerce or industry where the Obama administration is not asserting new government control.
Polls in Alabama close at 7 p.m. Central (8 p.m. Eastern).
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