The big question in the final days of Alabama’s runoff election for the GOP gubernatorial nomination isn’t just who is going to win the tight race between Bradley Byrne and Robert Bentley. It’s the mystery of who’s behind a largely bogus TV ad attacking Byrne.
A group calling itself the “Conservative Coalition for Alabama” is airing an ad that falsely accuses Byrne of a host of offenses. It says Byrne “took a 500 percent pay raise” (that’s misleading); steered government contracts to “cronies” (there’s no evidence of that); lost millions of dollars in the state’s prepaid college savings plan (so did nearly all other state plans); and ran up the taxpayers’ tab drinking “expensive wines” (false) and traveling in “style” (not entirely true).
Byrne suspects that the Conservative Coalition is a front group for the Alabama Education Association. He has good reason. AEA Executive Director Paul Hubbert (who also is co-chairman of the state Democratic party) admitted that he used “True Republican PAC” as a front group to attack Byrne during the June 1 primary fight.