In a victory for the business wing of the Republican Party, Bradley Byrne (R) won a special election for U.S. House in Alabama Tuesday, easily defeating Democrat Burton LeFlore in the state's heavily conservative 1st congressional district.
Businesses and allied groups made substantial investments in Byrne's campaign to defeat an insurgent tea party candidate in the GOP primary. The Chamber of Commerce spent big to help Byrne, a business attorney. He also received a flurry of donations from large companies. Given the strong rightward tilt of the Mobile-based district (Mitt Romney won more than six in 10 votes there in 2012), Byrne all but punched his ticket to the House with his November GOP runoff victory over Dean Young. He was widely expected to win easily headed into Tuesday.
With 64 percent of precincts reporting, the Associated Press called the race for Byrne, who led LeFlore 66 percent to 34 percent.
In a statement, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden (Ore.) congratulated Byrne on his win.
"Bradley’s strong conservative principles and dedication to his community will be a welcome addition to the halls of Congress," Walden said.
Byrne, 58, is a political veteran. He's a former state senator who ran for governor and lost in 2010.
Byrne will replace Republican Jo Bonner on Capitol Hill. Bonner resigned his seat to take a job in the University of Alabama system after a decade in the House.