Bentley defeats James in primary recount

Republican gubernatorial candidate Dr. Robert Bentley, a Columbiana native, defeated fellow candidate Tim James during a recent Republican primary recount.

The recount results confirmed Bentley and Bradley Byrne will appear on the ballot during the July 13 Republican primary.

After the recount, Byrne was in first place with 137,022 votes, Bentley was in second place with 123,987 votes and James was in third with 123,717 votes.

Election officials in all 67 Alabama counties recounted votes cast in the governor’s race during the June 1 Republican primary election at James’ request.

After the June 1 primary, James trailed second-place finisher Bentley by 167 votes. After the recount, James trailed Bentley by 270 votes.

Although Alabama Secretary of State Beth Chapman confirmed Bentley and Byrne would be the only two candidates on the July 13 runoff ballot, James could have asked the state Republican Party to throw out the runoff results if the recount came out in his favor.

But because the recount confirmed James’ third-place finish in the primary, the July 13 runoff will decide which Republican will run against Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ron Sparks in the November general election.

“It’s been a long two weeks, but tonight we declare victory – a victory for you, for Alabama and for all of those willing to join us in fighting the federal government, cleaning up Montgomery and putting Alabamians back to work,” Bentley wrote in a press release after he won the recount.

Bentley will hold a Birmingham area runoff campaign kickoff event at noon June 21 on the front steps of the Shelby County Courthouse on Main Street in Columbiana.

James is scheduled to hold a press conference at 4 p.m. June 21 at his campaign headquarters in Montgomery to discuss the results of the primary recount.

Rep. Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, chairman of the state Republican Party, praised state election officials for their work during the recount, and said he was glad the runoff ballot is now finalized.

“This was an unprecedented challenge that we undertook and I could not be more proud of our staff and our volunteers for the manner in which they handled what could have been a major problem with long-lasting consequences,” Hubbard wrote in a press release.

We look forward to putting this behind us and taking on the next steps as we work towards a very important runoff election,” Hubbard added. “The winner on July 13 will be the only conservative in the governor’s race, and we fully believe that our nominee will be the next governor of the state of Alabama.”