Bentley tops Byrne, moves on to general election

Columbiana native Dr. Robert Bentley defeated his opponent Bradley Byrne during a July 13 Republican gubernatorial runoff, sealing his spot on the November general election ballot.

With about 97 percent of the state reporting, Bentley had about 56 percent of the vote to Byrne’s 44 percent. In Shelby County, Bentley had about 52 percent of the vote, and Byrne had about 44 percent.

After winning the runoff, Bentley will now go on to face Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ron Sparks.

“This is the first time I’ve ever been speechless,” Bentley told supporters at his Tuscaloosa poll-watching party after Byrne called him to concede the election. “I got a call from Bradley Byrne, and he congratulated me.”

Bentley said he and his wife said a prayer for Byrne and his family while eating dinner the night before the runoff.

“We said our prayer, and when we prayed I prayed for Bradley Byrne and his family,” Bentley added. “I appreciate him, and I appreciate the race that they ran. They worked hard.”

Bentley entered the runoff against Byrne after Byrne received the most votes during the June Republican primary. Bentley came in second place, but candidate Tim James trailed him by a few hundred votes.

James then called a statewide recount, which resulted in Bentley’s favor.

During his speech, Bentley thanked the former Tim James supporters in attendance at the party, as well as supporters of former Republican candidates Roy Moore and Bill Johnson.

“I just want to thank all y’all in this effort to become the Republican nominee for the state of Alabama,” Bentley said.

Of the 26,269 votes cast in the July 13 runoff, 25,654 were cast in Republican races, with only 615 Democratic votes cast.

In the Democratic runoff for the Attorney General nomination, James Anderson won Shelby County with 339 votes to Giles Perkins’ 276. Anderson will face Republican nominee Luther Strange in the general election.

Republican Dorman Grace won Shelby County with 13,748 votes in the runoff for Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries, defeating John McMillan, who garnered 9,735 votes. The statewide race was too close to call Tuesday night, but whoever wins the runoff will face Democratic nominee Glen Zorn in the general election.

In the race for the Republican nomination for the Public Service Commission Place 1 seat, Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh tallied 14,895 Shelby County votes to defeat Stephen Evans’ 8,105 votes. In the general election, Cavanaugh will face the incumbent, Democrat Jan Cook.