A mainstream Republican and a tea party activist faced off Tuesday in the GOP runoff for a southeast Alabama congressional seat the party hopes to reclaim.
Establishment candidate and Montgomery City Councilwoman Martha Roby is the favorite in Tuesday's runoff against Rick Barber, a former Marine who operates a Montgomery pool hall that hosts tea party meetings.
Roby got 48 percent of the vote in the four-way June 1 primary, just short of winning the nomination without a runoff. Barber came in second with about 28 percent.
The winner will face Democratic U.S. Rep. Bobby Bright, who narrowly won the seat in 2008, the first time in 44 years that it didn't go to a Republican.
Roby, 34, has promised to bring "common sense conservative values" to Congress. But Barber, 35, who has no political track record, describes her as a "status quo" candidate, the daughter of a federal judge appointed by President Ronald Reagan.
In other races, the Republican runoff for governor also was a matchup of establishment versus outsider. Former two-year college chancellor Bradley Byrne, the choice of business interests and top Republican officials, faced a strong challenge from state Rep. Robert Bentley, a retired Tuscaloosa physician running as a self-described outsider.
The winner faces the Democratic nominee, State Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks, in November. Two-term Republican Gov. Bob Riley could not seek a third term.
Voters also were picking nominees in a heavily Democratic district expected to send a black woman to Congress from Alabama for the first time — either Terri Sewell or Shelia Smoot, both from Birmingham. Sewell, a Harvard-educated lawyer, and Smoot, a Jefferson County commissioner, sought the Democratic nomination.
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