On the surface, Bradley Byrne’s victory over tea party firebrand Dean Young in Alabama’s 1st District GOP runoff boosted business’s battle for control of the Republican Party.
But a deeper dive into Tuesday’s results reveals this was not as clear-cut a win for business groups looking to send friendlier conservatives to Congress following last month’s government shutdown.
Byrne captured the GOP nomination in the runoff to replace former Rep. Jo Bonner by 4 points over Young. It’s a stunningly slim margin given Byrne and other outside groups outspent Young by 10-to-1.
Young also had virtually no help from outside groups like the Club for Growth, receiving only a small burst of spending from failed Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle’s super PAC.
In fact, local operatives blame Young’s “impulsive” personality and controversial remarks for his defeat — not his stance on the issues.
Thus, the numbers and circumstances around the race give both sides fuel going into 2014 Business can claim victory in Round 1, but tea party groups have proof that even with a lackluster candidate, their grass-roots network is strong.
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