It’s special election day in southern Alabama, where Republican Bradley Byrne is favored to win a vacant congressional district.
Byrne, a former state legislator and candidate for governor in 2010, probably will easily defeat Democrat Burton LeFlore in a Mobile-area district that gave President Barack Obama just 37 percent of the vote in the 2012 election.
Byrne became a prohibitive favorite after winning a Nov. 5 Republican runoff election against Dean Young, who took a more confrontational posture than Byrne. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce helped Byrne defeat Young by 5 percentage points.
FedEx Corp., Wells Fargo & Co. and Honeywell International Inc. are among the businesses whose PACs donated to Byrne’s campaign in the past few days, underscoring his advantage in today’s election.
Republican Jo Bonner vacated the district in August to accept an academic post.
Byrne would fill one of two vacant seats in the House, which has 232 Republicans and 201 Democrats. The other vacancy is in Florida’s 13th District in and around St. Petersburg, where a March election will determine a successor to the late Republican Bill Young.
Democratic Rep. Mel Watt of North Carolina will soon vacate his seat to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency.