Campaign Updates

Jo Bonner backs Bradley Byrne in AL-01 runoff election

Posted on October 18th, 2013


MOBILE, Ala. – Former U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner said today that he is supporting Bradley Byrne in the GOP runoff election for Alabama’s 1st District congressional seat.

Bonner, R-Mobile, held the seat from 2003 until August of this year, when he resigned to take a job as a vice chancellor at the University of Alabama System in Tuscaloosa.

Bonner confirmed his support of Byrne over GOP rival Dean Young in response to a question from The web site obtained a copy of an invitation to a Byrne campaign fundraiser hosted by Bonner and former U.S. Rep. Jack Edwards, scheduled Oct. 22 in Mobile.

Bonner won re-election last year over a competitive GOP field that included Young. He remained neutral in the Sept. 24 primary election, when Byrne and Young emerged from a field of nine candidates. The two are battling for the GOP nomination in the Nov. 5 runoff, and the winner will face Democrat Burton LeFlore in the Dec. 17 general election.

Bonner said Friday that he saw Byrne as the right choice to carry on a tradition of statesmanship built by his two immediate predecessors, Edwards and former U.S. Rep. Sonny Callahan, R-Mobile.

“I would never be so bold as to tell anyone who they should vote for,” Bonner told “But when asked who I am voting for in the runoff election on November 5th, the choice is crystal clear. Bradley Byrne.”

The Byrne campaign confirmed that Bonner and Edwards, along with their wives, will host the private event on Tuesday at the home of Jimmy Grodnick.

“No two men know more about what it takes to represent South Alabama in Congress than Jo Bonner and Jack Edwards,” said Alex Schriver, a spokesman for the Byrne campaign. “Bradley is honored to have their support and help during this campaign.”

Bonner’s announcement capped a busy week for the Byrne campaign, which also picked up endorsements from the National Rifle Association and from state Rep. Chad Fincher, R-Mobile, the third-place finisher in the Sept. 24 primary.

Here’s the full statement from Bonner, as provided to

“This statement is in response to a question from the press. It is being made as a private citizen, as a lifelong resident of South Alabama and not in any way connected to my new responsibilities at The University of Alabama System. It is also intended to answer the question I have received from countless friends and supporters who, over the course of the past few weeks, have asked who I was supporting in the race to be South Alabama’s next congressman.

As long as there were nine people in the Republican primary, I felt obligated to remain on the sideline in terms of making a public endorsement, even though I was encouraged by many people to make my views known.

After all, the people of South Alabama have a long — and proud history — of making a thoughtful, informed decision about the person they want to represent our part of the state in the U.S. Congress.

However, now that the race has narrowed down to two, Janée and I no longer intend to be silent with just our votes.

Since my very first opportunity to cast a ballot back in 1978, I have proudly voted for two truly outstanding men who represented us in Congress… men of character, integrity and dignity… two real statesmen in the history of our great state, Jack Edwards and Sonny Callahan.

In the years that followed, I had the rare honor of working side-by-side these two men. In my opinion, both Jack and Sonny wrote the book on being respected, national leaders who never forgot about the people back home in South Alabama that they were sent to Washington to represent.

In 2002, I had the extra-special privilege of being elected to build on the remarkable 38-year combined record of Congressman Edwards and Congressman Callahan. Working with them, and so many others, we spent the past decade focused squarely on improving the quality of life of South Alabama.

Whether it was rebuilding from Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina, responding to the BP-Deepwater Horizon tragedy or helping to grow new jobs at Austal and bring new companies like ThyssenKrupp and Airbus to South Alabama, my staff and I worked our hearts out to always represent South Alabama in a dignified, meaningful way. I am proud of what we accomplished. And make no mistake, there is only one person who is ready to carry on in this tradition and join the fight to save our country and that is Bradley Byrne.

Both Janée and I are whole-heatedly, enthusiastically supporting Bradley to be our next congressman. He and Rebecca are good friends. Moreover, they have dedicated their lives to serving others.

Bradley is a man of character and a man of faith. He is a proven leader. He doesn’t talk about what he’ll do; instead, he has an impressive record of what he has already done to fight corruption, bring jobs to South Alabama and represent us in a way that will continue to make South Alabama proud. Bradley Byrne will hit the ground running.

I would never be so bold as to tell anyone who they should vote for. But when asked who I am voting for in the runoff election on November 5th, the choice is crystal clear. Bradley Byrne.”