|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Alabama's 1st district
January 8, 2014
|Chancellor of the Alabama Community College System|
May 2007 - August 31, 2009
|Member of the Alabama Senate|
from the 32nd district
November 2002 - January 2007
|Member of the|
Alabama State Board of Education
from the 1st District
January 3, 1995 - January 4, 2003
|John M. Tyson Jr.|
Bradley Roberts Byrne
February 16, 1955
Mobile, Alabama, U.S.
|Political party||Republican (1997-present)|
|Democratic (before 1997)|
|Education||Duke University (BA)|
University of Alabama (JD)
Bradley Roberts Byrne (born February 16, 1955) is an American business attorney and politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Alabama's 1st congressional district since 2014. Elected as a member of the state Board of Education as a Democrat in 1994, he became a member of the Republican Party in 1997, and served in the Alabama Senate from 2003 to 2007, representing the state's 32nd district.
Byrne was chancellor of the Alabama Community College System from 2007 until he resigned in 2009 to run for the 2010 Republican nomination for governor of Alabama. In December 2013 he won a special election to represent the state's 1st congressional district in the United States House of Representatives. Byrne ran in the Republican primary for the 2020 United States Senate election in Alabama, but was defeated in the first round of the primary by Tommy Tuberville and Jeff Sessions.
Bradley Byrne was born in 1955 in Mobile, Alabama. He was one of two children. He was raised in Baldwin County, Alabama. He attended UMS-Wright Preparatory School in Mobile, graduating in 1973. Bryne graduated from Duke University in 1977. At Duke, he became a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. In 1980, he graduated from the University of Alabama School of Law. He was classmates with Mo Brooks. After graduation, he became a private practice lawyer.
Byrne's first run for elective office, in 1994, was a success when he was elected to the Alabama State Board of Education as a Democrat. During his term on the Board of Education, Byrne supported a science curriculum that was opposed by many religious leaders in Alabama. He later voted with the Board to support a compromise that said, "Explanations of the origin of life and major groups of plants and animals, including humans, shall be treated as theory and not as fact. When attempting to apply scientific knowledge to world problems, no social agenda shall be promoted." In 1996 Byrne voted with the majority of Board members to reject $18 million in federal education funds because it was feared the money would allow greater federal control of schools. The vote was seen as a nod to the growing conservative influence in his south Alabama district. Byrne later changed his mind and convinced the Board to allow the money.
In May 2007 Byrne took the position of community college chancellor and oversaw a controversial reordering of much of the system. Bishop State Community College in Mobile was the target of investigators who found both financial and academic issues at the school in 2006 and 2007. Byrne ordered an audit of the school, which demonstrated many deficiencies. At the time, about two dozen people were charged with criminal fraud and theft charges. A total of 27 were charged before the probe ended in May 2007.
During the campaign, he was accused by his opponents in the Republican primary of supporting evolution and of doubting that the Bible was infallible. Byrne responded, "as a Christian and as a public servant, I have never wavered in my belief that this world and everything in it is a masterpiece created by the hands of God ... As a member of the Alabama Board of Education, the record clearly shows that I fought to ensure the teaching of creationism in our school text books. Those who attack me have distorted, twisted and misrepresented my comments and are spewing utter lies to the people of this state." He also added that he believed "every single word" of the Bible was true.
Following the runoff, Byrne went back to practicing business law, joining the law firm Jones Walker on August 16, 2010.
On February 23, 2011, Byrne announced he was partnering with other prominent Alabamians to create a nonprofit organization that would push for reforms in state government. Named "Reform Alabama", the organization actively supported legislation in the 2011 Alabama Regular Legislative Session.
Byrne finished first in the Republican primary and faced Tea Party candidate Dean Young in the runoff election. Byrne won the runoff, but Young refused to endorse him,[why?] which led to rumors of a rift within the Republican Party. But Byrne subsequently gained the endorsement of Alabama Patriots, a Tea Party-affiliated organization. Byrne faced Democratic Party nominee Burton LeFlore on December 17, 2013. Byrne won the election with 71% of the vote. He is only the sixth person to represent this Mobile-based district since 1919, and continues an unbroken run of Republican control in the district dating to 1965.
Byrne was originally expected to be running for reelection unopposed, but Burton LeFlore, his Democratic opponent in the 2013 special election, qualified. Byrne was reelected with 68% of the vote. The district has a PVI of R+15.
Byrne won the Republican primary with 60.1% over his 2013 challenger Young. He was unopposed in the general election.
Byrne was unopposed in the primary election. He won the general election by 63.15% to 36.78% over Democrat Robert Kennedy, Jr.
As of the end of 2019, Byrne had voted in line with President Donald Trump's position 96.8% of the time, in line with the majority of House Republicans 91.9–98.4% of the time, and against the majority of House Republicans 1.6%–8.1% of the time. In 2019, David M. McIntosh, of the conservative lobby organization Club for Growth, called Byrne "not a conservative" and a "fake politician."
Byrne is pro-life. In 2011, he co-sponsored the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, which would have banned abortions based on race or sex. Two years later, in 2013, he co-sponsored the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, which would have prohibited federal funds supporting family planning organizations that provide abortions, with exceptions for rape, incest, or if the mother's life is at risk. Byrne also co-sponsored an amendment to the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution that would categorize fetuses as human beings.
In 2019 Byrne voted against the Equality Act, a bill that would expand the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In House debates on the legislation, Byrne criticized the bill, calling it "radical" and "deeply troubling."
Byrne was given a "D" rating from NORML for his pro-cannabis stance. NORML describes him as "hard on drugs." Byrne supports the federal government preventing states from legalizing medical marijuana. In 2019, he voted against the SAFE Banking Act.
In 2014, Byrne signed the Lawful Ivory Protection Act.
In October 2019 Byrne and Mo Brooks were the only Republican members of the Alabama House delegation to vote against a resolution condemning Trump for removing U.S. military forces from Syria, which had greatly endangered the Kurdish resistance to the Islamic State in Syria (ISIS).
In 2017, Byrne voted in favor of legislation imposing additional sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea, which passed on a 419–3 vote. In 2019, however, Byrne voted against a measure disapproving of the Trump administration's plan to lift sanctions imposed against three Russian firms.
In 2019, Byrne voted against measures to halt U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and also voted against legislation to end U.S. military aid to Saudi Arabia in the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen.
Byrne has a history of supporting gun rights. He voted against universal background check legislation for gun sales, and against a measure to grant law enforcement additional time to run background checks for gun sales. In 2015, Byrne co-sponsored legislature to allow cross-state concealed carry. In 2019, he hosted a town hall meeting at a gun store, three days after the Dayton mass shooting, which killed 9 people. During the meeting, Byrne said that red flag laws violate the Second Amendment and are not effective.
Byrne voted against the 2018 First Step Act, a criminal justice reform measure. The National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) gave Byrne a 38% rating, describing him as having a "police-the-police stance" for his police-related legislation support.
In 2015, Byrne was the chief sponsor of Republican legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act. In 2017, he promoted Republican proposals to dismantle the ACA, and voted for a January 2017 budget resolution to repeal the ACA. Byrne also voted for the American Health Care Act, the Republican repeal-and-replace legislation, in May 2017.
In 2015, Byrne sponsored bills to ban the admission of any Syrian people. Byrne supported President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order temporarily banning citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.
During the federal government shutdown of 2018-19, Byrne voted against proposals to fund the government without appropriations for a border wall. He voted against legislation to terminate an Trump's emergency declaration to divert funds for border wall, and voted to sustain Trump's veto of the legislation.
In the 2017 Alabama special election to replace U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions, who had vacated his seat upon being appointed U.S. Attorney General, Byrne endorsed the Republican nominee, Roy Moore. During the campaign at least nine women alleged that Moore had either sexually assaulted them or made inappropriate romantic or sexual advances toward them while he was an assistant DA and the women were teenagers as young as 14, or while he was a lawyer and the women were clients. Following these allegations, additional ones were made, including attempted rape of a 16-year-old. Moore denied the allegations and his campaign and supporters began questioning the victims' motives and veracity and said they would mount an investigation of the women's motives. Immediately after the allegations and instances of victim intimidation, numerous Republicans rescinded their endorsements of Moore, but Byrne did not, nor did he condemn the Moore campaign's threats against his accusers or call on Moore to drop out of the race. In response to Byrne's continuing support of Moore, Alabama's statewide newspaper group AL.com began running editorial cartoons titled "I am Roy Moore" with a picture of Byrne and the caption "You condone it, you own it."
In 2020, Byrne released a campaign ad criticizing The Squad, a group of four women members of the House of Representatives. In the commercial, he describes one of the members, Ilhan Omar, as "cheapening 9/11". In a voice-over in the commercial Byrne says, "The Squad attacking America. Dale fought for that right. I will not let them tear this country up."
In 2010, Byrne signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, pledging that he would not introduce new taxes. In 2017 he voted for the Republican tax legislation, saying that the bill's passage would "lead to greater economic growth, higher wages, and more jobs."
Byrne has touted his unwavering support for Donald Trump, despite early criticism of Trump. In 2016, Byrne said that Trump should drop out of the presidential election after the release of the Access Hollywood tapes. Just before the election, Byrne said he would vote for Trump.
On October 23, 2019, Gary Palmer, Jim Jordan, Byrne and Brooks joined about two dozen other House Republicans in aggressively intruding upon a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) where Republican and Democratic congressional members[a] had been taking confidential testimony from Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper as part of the impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump. Brooks had given an incendiary speech before joining the non-committee Republicans forcing their way into the hearing room, carrying electronic devices that are prohibited in SCIFs. The disruption delayed Cooper's testimony by many hours.House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson wrote to the House Sergeant-at-Arms requesting that he take action regarding their "unprecedented breach of security". South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham admonished his House colleagues for making a "run on the SCIF," calling the stunt "nuts."
Byrne voted against established procedures for the impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump, and voted several times to table the articles of impeachment. In December 2019, he voted against impeaching Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in connection with the Trump-Ukraine scandal, echoing Trump's rhetoric on impeachment.
Byrne supported a bill that would direct the U.S. Department of Justice to report to the United States Congress whenever any federal agency refrains from enforcing laws or regulations for any reason. In the report, the government would have to explain why it had decided not to enforce that law. Byrne accused the Obama administration of "making an end-run around Congress to achieve through administrative means what they cannot legislatively" and of selectively enforcing the law. He introduced a bill to create a National Museum of Irish American History in 2017. In 2019, Byrne introduced legislation to impose term limits on members of Congress.
Byrne is a member of the United States Congressional International Conservation Caucus.
On February 20, 2019, Byrne announced his candidacy for the 2020 United States Senate election in Alabama, challenging incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Doug Jones. He accused Jones of not supporting "Alabama's interests and Alabama values" in his announcement speech. Byrne was defeated in the first round of the Republican primary; he won districts near Mobile, but did poorly elsewhere in the state. Tommy Tuberville and Jeff Sessions advanced to the Republican primary runoff.
|Republican||Robert J. Bentley||123,870||25.15|
|Republican||Robert J. Bentley||260,887||56.07|
|Republican||Bradley Byrne (incumbent)||103,758||68.2|
|Republican||Bradley Byrne (incumbent)||71,310||60.1|
|Republican||Bradley Byrne (incumbent)||208,083||96.4|
|Republican||Bradley Byrne (incumbent)||153,228||63.2|
|Democratic||Robert Kennedy Jr.||89,226||36.8|
|Republican||Ruth Page Nelson||7,200||1.00%|
Byrne's brother, Dale Byrne, died in 2013 during the 2013 election in which Bradley Byrne was participating. Dale Byrne died from a heart attack after suffering from a respiratory illness contracted while serving with the Alabama National Guard in Iraq.