Bradley Byrne

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Bradley Byrne
Rep Bradley Byrne.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alabama's 1st district
Assumed office
January 8, 2014
Preceded byJo Bonner
Chancellor of the Alabama Community College System
In office
May 2007 – August 31, 2009
Preceded byRoy Johnson[1]
Succeeded byFreida Hill[2]
Member of the Alabama Senate
from the 32nd district
In office
November 2002 – January 2007
Preceded byAlbert Lipscomb
Succeeded byTrip Pittman
Member of the
Alabama State Board of Education
from the 1st District
In office
January 3, 1995 – January 4, 2003
Preceded byJohn M. Tyson Jr.[3]
Succeeded byRandy McKinney[4]
Personal details
Bradley Roberts Byrne

(1955-02-16) February 16, 1955 (age 64)
Mobile, Alabama, U.S.
Political partyRepublican (1997–present)
Other political
Democratic (before 1997)
Rebecca Dukes (m. 1982)
EducationDuke University (BA)
University of Alabama (JD)

Bradley Roberts Byrne (born February 16, 1955) is an American business attorney and politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Alabama's 1st congressional district since 2014. Elected as a member of the state Board of Education as a Democrat in 1994, he became a member of the Republican Party in 1997, supporting "creationism,"[5] and served in the Alabama Senate from 2003 to 2007, representing the state's 32nd district.[6]

Byrne was chancellor of the Alabama Community College System from 2007 until he resigned in 2009 to run for the 2010 Republican nomination for governor of Alabama.[7][8] In December 2013 he won a special election to represent the state's 1st congressional district in the United States House of Representatives. On February 20, 2019, he announced his intention to run for the United States Senate in 2020.[9]

Political background[edit]

Byrne's first run for elective office, in 1994, was a success when he was elected to the Alabama State Board of Education as a Democrat.[10][11] During his term on the Board of Education, Byrne supported a science curriculum that was opposed by many religious leaders in Alabama. He later voted with the Board to support a compromise that said, "Explanations of the origin of life and major groups of plants and animals, including humans, shall be treated as theory and not as fact. When attempting to apply scientific knowledge to world problems, no social agenda shall be promoted."[12] In 1996 Byrne voted with the majority of Board members to reject $18 million in federal education funds because it was feared the money would allow greater federal control of schools. The vote was seen as a nod to the growing conservative influence in his south Alabama district.[12] Byrne later changed his mind and convinced the Board to allow the money.[13]

In 1997 Byrne left the Democratic Party and became a Republican.[5]

In 2002 Byrne ran for an Alabama State Senate seat, representing part of Baldwin County.[14] He won with 91% of the vote over his Democratic challenger.[15]

Chancellor of Alabama's Community College System[edit]

In May 2007 Byrne took the position of community college chancellor[16] and oversaw a controversial reordering of much of the system. Bishop State Community College in Mobile was the target of investigators who found both financial and academic issues at the school in 2006 and 2007. Byrne ordered an audit of the school, which demonstrated many deficiencies. At the time, about 2 dozen people were charged with criminal fraud and theft charges. A total of 27 were charged before the probe ended in May 2007.[16][17]

Byrne also worked with Alabama Attorney General Troy King to recover monies stolen from the community college system.[18] He resigned as Chancellor on August 31, 2009.[19]

2010 gubernatorial campaign[edit]

During the campaign, he was accused by his opponents in the Republican primary of supporting evolution and of doubting that the Bible was infallible. Byrne responded, "as a Christian and as a public servant, I have never wavered in my belief that this world and everything in it is a masterpiece created by the hands of God ... As a member of the Alabama Board of Education, the record clearly shows that I fought to ensure the teaching of creationism in our school text books. Those who attack me have distorted, twisted and misrepresented my comments and are spewing utter lies to the people of this state." He also added that he believed "every single word" of the Bible was true.[20]

Post-election activity[edit]

Following the runoff, Byrne went back to practicing business law, joining the Jones Walker law firm on August 16, 2010.[21]

Reform Alabama[edit]

On February 23, 2011, Byrne announced he was partnering with other prominent Alabamians to create a nonprofit organization that would push for reforms in state government.[22] Named "Reform Alabama", the organization actively supported legislation in the 2011 Alabama Regular Legislative Session.[23]

Possible Supreme Court run[edit]

On May 25, 2011, the Mobile Press-Register reported that Byrne was considering running for chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in 2012. "I’ve been encouraged to look at it, and I’m doing that. But I’ve made no decision, and frankly I’m no where near a decision at this point," Byrne said.[24] He ultimately did not enter the race.

United States House of Representatives[edit]


2013 special election[edit]

On May 23, 2013, U.S. Representative Jo Bonner announced that he would resign, effective August 15, 2013.[25]

Byrne finished first in the Republican primary and faced Tea Party candidate Dean Young in the runoff election. Byrne won the runoff, but Young refused to endorse him,[why?] which led to rumors of a rift within the Republican Party. But Byrne subsequently gained the endorsement of Alabama Patriots, a Tea Party-affiliated organization.[26] Byrne faced Democratic Party nominee Burton LeFlore on December 17, 2013.[27][28] Byrne won the election with 71% of the vote.[28] He is only the sixth person to represent this Mobile-based district since 1919, and continues an unbroken run of Republican control in the district dating to 1965.


Byrne was originally expected to be running for reelection unopposed, but Burton LeFlore, his Democratic opponent in the 2013 special election, qualified.[29][30] Byrne was reelected with 68% of the vote.[31] The district has a PVI of R+15.


Byrne won the Republican primary with 60.1% over his 2013 challenger Young. He was unopposed in the general election.[32]


Byrne was unopposed in the primary election. He won the general election by 63.15% to 36.78% over Democrat Robert Kennedy, Jr.[33]


Byrne supported a bill that would direct the United States Department of Justice to report to the United States Congress whenever any federal agency refrains from enforcing laws or regulations for any reason.[34] In the report, the government would have to explain why it had decided not to enforce that law.[35] Byrne spoke in favor of the bill, saying, "the Obama Administration has been open and honest about one thing in particular: they have no problem making an end-run around Congress to achieve through administrative means what they cannot legislatively. Placing political convenience above the United States Constitution goes against everything the Founding Fathers intended, and it's time we put a stop to this practice."[36]

Byrne and Mo Brooks had been the only Republican members of the Alabama House delegation to vote in October 2019 against a resolution condemning President Trump for removing U.S. military forces from Syria, which had greatly endangered the Kurdish resistance to the Islamic State in Syria (ISIS).[37]

On October 23, 2019, Gary Palmer, Byrne and Brooks joined about two dozen other House Republicans in aggressively intruding upon that day's confidential hearing in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) where Republican and Democratic congressional members had been taking testimony from Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper. Byrne yelled in Representative Adam Schiff's face during the confrontation, to which Schiff did not respond.[38] (He later denied shouting at Schiff, though it was widely reported.[38][39]) Byrne denounced the impeachment inquiry process as "a sham".[38] Brooks had given an incendiary speech before joining the non-committee Republicans forcing their way into the committee impeachment hearing, where Brooks demanded, "By golly, if they are going to do it, do it in public. Don’t hide it from the American people." One committee member said, "It was the closest thing I've seen around here to mass civil unrest as a member of Congress."[38] The conservatives barged into the hearing room with prohibited electronics devices.[39][38][40] Brooks said, "Show your face where we can all see the travesty that you are trying to foist on America and the degradation of our Republic that you're engaged in".[39] Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan said, "The members have just had it, and they want to be able to see and represent their constituents and find out what's going on".[38][39] House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson wrote to the House Sergeant-at-Arms about Jordan, Byrne, and others, requesting that he take action regarding their "unprecedented breach of security". South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham admonished his House colleagues for their tactic, calling them "nuts" for having made a "run on the SCIF".[41][42] In the 116th Congress, the chair (Schiff) and 12 Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee were appointed by the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, who is a committee member ex officio.[43] The House Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, also an ex officio member, appointed the ranking member, Devin Nunes, and eight other Republicans to the committee.[44] Each side gets equal time to question witnesses appearing before the committee.[45] The disruption delayed Cooper's testimony by many hours.[39]

Committee assignments[edit]

Byrne is a member of the United States Congressional International Conservation Caucus.[47]

2020 U.S. Senate election[edit]

On February 20, 2019, Byrne announced his candidacy for the 2020 United States Senate election in Alabama, challenging incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Doug Jones who had won his seat after his Republican challenger Roy Moore had been accused of intended sexual relations with girls as young as 14. Byrne endorsed Moore, not retracting his support after the revelations surfaced.[48] Byrne accused Jones of not supporting "Alabama's interests and Alabama values" in his announcement speech in Mobile.[9]

Political positions[edit]

National security[edit]

Byrne supported President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order to impose a temporary ban on entry to the U.S. to citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries. He said, "I appreciate President Trump's efforts to address these issues as he works to keep the American people safe. While there have been some issues with the order's implementation, I look forward to working with the Trump Administration to make sure their efforts to protect the American people succeed in a timely and effective manner."[49]

Roy Moore endorsement[edit]

In the 2017 Alabama special election to replace Jeff Sessions, whom President Trump appointed to the position of Attorney General of the United States, Byrne endorsed the Republican nominee, Roy Moore.[50] During the campaign at least nine women made allegations that Moore had either sexually assaulted them or made inappropriate romantic or sexual advances toward them while he was an assistant DA and the girls were teenagers as young as 14, or while he was a lawyer and the women were clients.[51][52] Following the original allegations of sexual impropriety, additional allegations were made including attempted rape of a 16-year-old.[53] Moore denied the allegations and his campaign and supporters began questioning the victims' motives and veracity and claimed they would mount an "investigation" of the women's motives.[54] Immediately following the allegations and instances of victim intimidation, numerous Republicans withdrew endorsements of Moore.[55] Byrne did not withdraw his endorsement or condemn the Moore campaign's victim intimidation threats.[56] On November 15, 2017, Byrne said, "I have no reason to doubt the stories that have been told [by the victims]" but did not rescind his endorsement or call on Moore to drop out of the race.[57] On November 16 Byrne was given the opportunity to withdraw his endorsement but neither withdrew it nor condemned Moore's alleged attack on his victims, noting that it was Byrne's belief that it was up to the citizens of Alabama to make the decision about whom to vote for.[58] In response to Byrne's continuing support of Moore in the face of nine accusers, on November 28 Alabama's statewide newspaper group began running editorial cartoons titled "I am Roy Moore" with a picture of Byrne and the caption "You condone it, you own it."[59]

Tax reform[edit]

Byrne voted for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.[60] During the bill's debate, Byrne said, "It will lead to greater economic growth, higher wages, and more jobs, which is exactly what the American people sent President Trump and the Republican Congress to Washington to do."[61] Byrne voted for the bill on the grounds that it would lower taxes for all Americans and "pump up wage growth and that'll help wage growth." He said individual incomes would increase as a result of the legislation.[62]

LGBT rights[edit]

In 2019 Byrne voted against the Equality Act, a bill that would expand the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.[63] He heavily criticized the bill, calling it "radical", "deeply troubling", and "unprecedented", and urged Congress to reject the legislation.[64]

Electoral history[edit]

Alabama Governor Republican Primary Election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Bradley Byrne 137,451 27.89
Republican Robert Bentley 123,958 25.15
Republican Tim James 123,792 25.12
Republican Roy Moore 95,163 19.31
Republican Bill Johnson 8,362 1.70
Republican Charles Taylor 2,622 0.53
Republican James Potts 1,549 0.31
Alabama Governor Republican Primary runoff election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Robert Bentley 261,233 56.09
Republican Bradley Byrne 204,503 43.91
Alabama 1st Congressional District Special Republican Primary Election, 2013
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Bradley Byrne 18,090 34.57
Republican Dean Young 12,011 22.95
Republican Chad Fincher 8,177 15.63
Republican Quin Hillyer 7,260 13.87
Republican Wells Griffith 5,758 11.00
Republican Daniel Dyas 391 0.75
Republican Jessica James 391 0.75
Republican Sharon Powe 184 0.35
Republican David Thornton 72 0.14
Alabama 1st Congressional District Special Republican Primary Runoff Election, 2013
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Bradley Byrne 38,150 52.50
Republican Dean Young 34,534 47.50
Alabama 1st Congressional District Special Election, 2013
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Bradley Byrne 36,042 71.00
Democratic Burton LeFlore 14,968 29.00
Alabama 1st Congressional District Election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Bradley Byrne (inc.) 103,758 68.16
Democratic Burton LeFlore 48,278 31.71
Write-ins Write-ins 198 0.13
Alabama 1st Congressional District Republican Primary Election, 2016
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Bradley Byrne (inc.) 71,310 60.11
Republican Dean Young 47,319 39.89
Alabama 1st Congressional District general election, 2016
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Bradley Byrne (inc.) 208,083 96
No party Write-ins 7,810 4
Alabama 1st Congressional District Election, 2018
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Bradley Byrne (inc.) 153,228 63.16
Democratic Robert Kennedy Jr. 89,226 36.78
Write-ins Write-ins 163 0.07


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  6. ^ "Full Biography". December 11, 2012. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
  7. ^ ACCS Press Release: State Board of Education appoints Joan Davis as interim chancellor Archived March 18, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Byrne for Alabama". Archived from the original on September 18, 2009. Retrieved February 23, 2010.
  9. ^ a b Chandler, Kim (February 20, 2019). "GOP's Byrne to challenge Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama in 2020". Associated Press. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
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  12. ^ a b Charles J. Dean (March 10, 1995). "Science Curriculum Gets Board Approval". Birmingham News. Birmingham News. p. 1A.
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  14. ^ Gary Mitchell (January 16, 2002). "SBOE's Byrne enters GOP Race for Lipscomb's Seat". Birmingham News. Birmingham News. p. State and Regional.
  15. ^ "Alabama Senate Results". Birmingham News. Birmingham News. November 7, 2002. p. News.
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  21. ^ "Bradley Byrne joins Jones Walker law firm" (newspaper). August 16, 2010.
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  23. ^ "Reform Alabama Legislation".
  24. ^ "Alabama Supreme Court race has lawyers buzzing". Mobile Press-Register. Mobile, AL. May 25, 2011.
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  26. ^ Kirby, Brendan (November 12, 2013). "Tea party group backs Byrne for Congress, disputes notion of rift in GOP". Mobile Press-Register. Alabama Media Group. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
  27. ^ Jessica Sawyer (November 5, 2013). "Byrne wins, Young concedes in Alabama-01 Republican runoff" (Digital). Alabama Media Group, LLC. Retrieved November 6, 2013.
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  37. ^ All but two Alabama Republican congressmen vote to condemn Trump’s Syria exit,, Eddie Burkhalter, October 17, 2019. Retrieved October 27, 2019.
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  49. ^ Blake, Aaron. "Coffman, Gardner join Republicans against President Trump's travel ban; here's where the rest stand". Denver Post. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
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  54. ^ CNN, Susannah Cullinane,. "Moore threatens to sue Washington Post over report". Retrieved November 16, 2017.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
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  56. ^ "Which GOP politicians still support Roy Moore? Who withdrew endorsements?". Retrieved November 16, 2017.
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  58. ^ "Bradley Byrne: Roy Moore is the voters' decision, not mine". Retrieved November 18, 2017.
  59. ^ "I am Roy Moore: U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne". Retrieved July 11, 2018.
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  63. ^ Final Vote Results for Roll Call 217
  64. ^ "House Debate on the Equality Act". C-SPAN. May 17, 2019.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jo Bonner
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alabama's 1st congressional district

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Katherine Clark
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Alma Adams