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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