The biggest divide within the Republican party is as much over style as substance — whether conservatives should be more confrontational or seek to achieve their goals more quietly and strategically. It’s more of a cultural divide as it as an ideological one.
— That divide is playing itself out in an Alabama Republican runoff for the Mobile-based seat of former GOP Rep. Jo Bonner. Republicans, conservative and establishment alike, have rallied behind Bradley Byrne, who is as credentialed as they come. He’s a former gubernatorial frontrunner, state community college chancellor, and attorney. His opponent, Dean Young, eked out a second-place finish in the primary, thanks to a socially-conservative message targeted to evangelical Christians.
— Just check out this Guardian (UK) Q&A with the two candidates. Byrne’s political idol is Winston Churchill. Young’s is Roy Moore, the Alabama Supreme Court Justice who fought to keep a monument of the 10 Commandments on government property. Young said he’s not a “big world traveler” when asked what county he admired. Byrne said President Obama‘s birthplace was Hawaii; Young called it the “$64,000 question.”
— And Young, despite being outspent and outendorsed, is running neck-and-neck with the prohibitive favorite. (One GOP robo-poll showed him with a within-the-margin lead.) Despite only having one campaign staffer, his comparisons to Ted Cruz and outspoken social conservatism are drawing grassroots conservatives to his side in a low-turnout election.
Remember: Bonner’s old district isn’t a tea-party hotbed; it’s the business epicenter of the state. The Cook Political Report wrote: “A Young victory would send shock waves throughout the House GOP.” As if the party needed any more reminders.
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