Field crowded for Bonner seat

Published 8:34 am Wednesday, June 5, 2013

U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner surprised his constituents last month with news that he will be stepping down from his seat, taking a position at the University of Alabama later this summer.

Almost immediately, the field of interested candidates swelled.

By Tuesday afternoon, there were officially five candidates who had announced, and more than triple that number on the fence.

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The Republican field in particular is crowded — no surprise in a district that leans red.

Gov. Robert Bentley has not yet set a date for a special election, which would come sometime after August, when Bonner officially steps down.

In the meantime, we’ll be watching this race closely, and we suggest voters do the same.

Bonner’s seat is an important one; the economic growth in south Alabama has the potential to affect our entire region, and Congressional leadership can garner us important attention and perhaps even much-needed funds for expansions.

Bonner has also been outspoken in getting justice for those affected by the BP oil spill, and that recovery continues.

So far, we have five announced Republican candidates: state Rep. Randy Davis of Daphne; Orange Beach businessman Dean Young; Mobile real estate agent Jessica James, conservative columnist Quin Hillyer; and former state Sen. Bradley Byrne, once considered a frontrunner for governor who was beaten in the primary by Bentley.

With so many names still considering a run, we expect the field to grow. Keeping an eye on all of those names may be difficult, but voters need to be aware of these folks so we can choose the best person for the job.