Alabamans are in for another Republican runoff this cycle, this time in the state’s 6th District, where state Rep. Paul DeMarco will face off against policy think tank founder Gary Palmer in July.
DeMarco took 33 percent and is the favorite heading into the runoff, with Palmer taking 20 percent of the vote when The Associated Press called the primary on Tuesday night.
Palmer's win is a triumph of local conservatives over national groups, which went in heavily for surgeon Chad Mathis. Palmer was well-known in conservative circles in the state from his more than two decades heading up the conservative Alabama Policy Institute.
He nabbed endorsements from Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), the Senate Conservatives Fund and the Club for Growth, among others, and the Club has aired ads for him.
But he may have overplayed his hand with an early offensive effort against DeMarco, businessman Will Brooke, Gary Palmer and state Sen. Scott Beason. The latter three held a rare joint press conference last week to decry what they called “dishonest” attacks, and Mathis recently backed off the negativity, running a positive spot featuring his kids touting his potential in Congress last week.
The positive ad, however, was too little too late.
DeMarco and Palmer will meet on July 15, and the eventual nominee is expected to easily retain the seat this fall.
—This piece was updated at 11:37 p.m.