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County backs Byrne, but state disagrees

Republican voters in Madison County casts the most votes for gubernatorial candidate Bradley Byrne, but that wasn’t enough to fend off Tuscaloosa physician Robert Bentley in his bid for the state’s top job.

In Madison County, Byrne received 17,239 votes, or 55 percent, to Bentley’s 14,293 votes, or 45 percent. Statewide, however, the margin was reversed, with Bentley garnering 260,887 votes, or 56 percent, to Byrne’s 204,394, or 44 percent.

Bentley will face Democratic challenger Ron Sparks in November.

Bentley, of Tuscaloosa, entered the primary runoff after narrowly defeating third-place finisher Tim James. Byrne, former head of the state’s two-year college system, was the top vote getter in the primary.

Bentley talked about his surprise win as he addressed supporters Tuesday night.

“No one thought we had a chance but you know, God is good. We said we won this on a wing and a prayer but I can tell you, there were a whole lot more prayers,” he said.

Bentley is now setting his eyes on the race to November.

“Alabama is hurting and we need leadership. We need to be putting people back to work That is going to be my number one goal.”

Bentley’s opponent offers his congratulations Tuesday night, but was quick to say he thought he was the better option for voters.

“ I will continue to focus on those issues that impact the working families of Alabama, and job creation will be my top priority. Voters deserve an election that brings us together, not divides us, and one that focuses on the solutions to our problems. I think my highway jobs program, an education lottery, and my plan to tax and regulate gaming will get Alabama working again and will be the key to winning in November,” Sparks said.

On the local front, Madison School Board Sue Helms lost her bid for the Place Eight seat on the State School Board. Helms lost in Madison County and in the district to Huntsville Attorney Mary Scott Hunter. In Madison County, Helms received 11,784 votes, or 41 percent, to Hunter’s 17,149, or 59 percent.

The district, which includes Limestone, Madison, Jackson, DeKalb and Etowah counties, followed the same path. District-wide, Helms received 21,362, or 43 percent, to Hunter’s 28,728, or 57 percent.

Hunter will face incumbent Democrat Mary Sue Yates in November.

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