When Bradley Byrne announced his run for U.S. Senate, locals wondered how he would fare “north of the Dolly Parton Bridge.”
The answer – not too well.
Byrne destroyed another Mobilian, former U.S. Senator and U.S. Attorney General, Jeff Sessions in both Mobile and Baldwin Counties. He won handily in all seven counties making up his congressional seat. But Byrne floundered outside Lower Alabama, despite spending a lot of time and money campaigning there.
“The problem was people north of Atmore hadn’t heard a lot about Bradley Byrne,” said Mobile-based political consultant Jon Gray of Strategy Research. “Against Jeff Sessions and a well-known name like Tommy Tuberville, he had a hard time selling the rest of the state on what a great, conservative leader he’s been in Washington.”
While winning just 24.9-percent of votes statewide, Byrne took 52.7-percent in Mobile County and 56.3-percent in Baldwin County. Sessions registered 30.4-percent and 25.8-percent respectively, a dismal showing in his home counties. Tuberville captured just 10.9-percent in Mobile County and 12.4-percent in Baldwin County.
Byrne also won Washington (55.7%), Escambia (61.3%), Monroe (49.9%), Clarke (46.3%), and Conecuh Counties (39.0%). They were the only counties he won.
Byrne captured 32-percent (57,392) of his statewide total (178,302) in the seven Lower Alabama counties.
In the state’s 12 counties with a population of 100,000 or more, Sessions won five (Montgomery, Madison, Tusacaloosa, Morgan, and Houston), Tubberville won five (Jefferson, Shelby, Lee, Calhoun, and Etowah). Byrne won two (Mobile and Baldwin).
Tuberville was the clear winner in rural Alabama. Of the 48 counties with a population under 100,000 that had certified its results with the Secretary of State by Wednesday morning, Tuberville won 30 to Sessions’ 13. Byrne won the five rural counties in his congressional district. Sessions only did well in his native Wilcox County and in the southwestern portion of the state.
Statewide, Tuberville with 33.4-percent and Sessions with 31.7-percent, advance to the March 31 Run Off Election.