In an interview with National Public Radio, Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL) reacted to Tuesday night’s special election that resulted in Alabama voters sending a Democrat to the U.S. Senate for the first time since Sen. Richard Shelby in 1992.
Sen.-elect Doug Jones (D-AL) defeated former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore by a narrow 1.5 percent margin. However, Byrne noted all the unusual circumstances surrounding the campaign, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) involvement in the primary contest. He went on to predict Jones could not pull off another statewide election win when that seat is up again in 2020.
“This was as weird an election as I have ever seen,” Byrne said to NPR’s Rachel Martin. “It started back in the winter when Jeff Sessions left that Senate seat and our now-disgraced former governor, Robert Bentley, appointed the attorney general that was supposed to be investigating him to take that seat. And then we had Mitch McConnell weigh heavily into the race, forcing good candidates out and then attacking candidates during the primary. And that ended up with a very weak candidate and the former attorney general against Roy Moore, and Roy Moore won the primary.”
“Now, Roy Moore, in 2012, ran in a general election for chief justice of Alabama Supreme Court, won by 4 points when Mitt Romney carried Alabama by 20 points,” he continued. “So, Roy Moore going to this election was already a very weak candidate. And then five weeks ago, you had these absolutely remarkable allegations that came out from several different women – over-35-years-old allegations – and all this national attention, all of this hype and I just think this is one of those elections that will never be replicated again in my lifetime. Doug Jones, who’s a friend of mine – I like him very much. Doug Jones will lose his seat in 2020.”
With regards to not writing in a candidate as Shelby had publicly proclaimed, Byrne said he voted “straight Republican” and said if it had gotten to the point he couldn’t vote for GOP candidates, he “shouldn’t be a Republican anymore.”
“I voted straight Republican, as I always do,” he said. “The allegations were over 35 years old. There never was an opportunity for a clear way to get to the actual truth of what they were saying. Until I get to that point, I’m not going to leave what I consider my obligation to as a Republican officeholder. I think I signed a pledge to vote for Republican candidates. If I feel like I can’t vote for Republican candidates, I shouldn’t be a Republican anymore.”
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