Chamber-backed Byrne wins Ala. House special

Former state Sen. Bradley Byrne easily won the special election for Alabama’s 1st District on Tuesday night, capping off the last election of 2013 in a blowout.

The Associated Press called the race with 51 percent reporting, and Byrne led Democrat Burton LeFlore with 66 percent of the vote to LeFlore's 34 percent.

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Byrne’s win in the heavily Republican district was all but guaranteed, after he defeated a Tea Party-backed Republican in a contentious GOP primary runoff last month.

That primary emerged as an early proxy battle of the greater fight playing out nationwide between the Tea Party and establishment Republicans.

Byrne received Chamber of Commerce backing and financial support in the final weeks of his campaign, shortly after the government shutdown ended, and the Chamber indicated it would engage more heavily in primaries to defeat Tea Party-affiliated candidates.

Support from established Republicans, such as House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), helped him significantly outraise LeFlore, bringing in about $1.1 million to LeFlore’s $7,000.

In a statement, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) congratulated Byrne and welcomed him to Congress.

"Bradley’s strong conservative principles and dedication to his community will be a welcomed addition to the halls of Congress. He has a history of working hard for Alabamans for almost two decades, and I know he will continue that precedent as a United States Representative," he said.

He’ll replace former Rep. Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) in the House, who stepped down from Congress in August to take a job with the University of Alabama.