The Weekly Standard’s Fred Barnes cut a campaign ad for a candidate in this congressional race. Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and former presidential candidate Rick Santorum have also made endorsements.
The chief justice of Alabama’s supreme court — long known as the “Ten Commandments Judge” — supports another candidate. And Katherine Webb, the beauty queen and model famous for dating University of Alabama football quarterback AJ McCarron, even shook up the race last week with an endorsement of her own.
You may not be following the special election to fill the open U.S. House seat for Alabama’s 1st Congressional District, but an unusual amount of well-known folks are. And candidates are working hard to capitalize on these endorsements before party primaries for the heavily-Republican district Tuesday.
Nine Republicans are on the ballot, and therefore no one is expected to win more than 50 percent of the vote on Tuesday. A run-off is scheduled for Nov. 5 for the top two finishers of Tuesday’s race.
Most campaigns acknowledge that former Alabama gubernatorial candidate Bradley Byrne — who was endorsed by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush when he ran for governor in 2010 — seems guaranteed a spot in the Republican run-off. Therefore, the real question heading into Tuesday is which candidate will face Byrne in November’s run-off election.
A poll released last week showed Byrne with 34 percent of the vote — about 20 points ahead of the candidate in second place.
The four Republicans seen as having the best shot at making it into the run-off include conservative columnist Quin Hillyer, former Republican National Committee aide Wells Griffith, businessman Dean Young and Alabama State Rep. Chad Fincher.
When it comes to endorsements from national conservatives, no one comes close to matching the number of supporters boasted by Hillyer, who has written for The American Spectator, The Washington Examiner, The Washington Times and Mobile Press-Register.
Soon after Hillyer announced his candidacy, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum jumped on board. Hillyer has since been endorsed by former Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox; former NRA President David Keene; former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell; Weekly Standard editors Bill Kristol and Fred Barnes; National Review editor Rich Lowry; Citizens United President David Bossie; Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli; former Alabama Rep. Artur Davis; former Virginia Gov. George Allen; RedState.com editor Erick Erickson; Arkansas Rep. Tim Griffin; Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise and conservative commentator Mary Matalin.