By CAROLINE BECK, Alabama Daily News
Alabama’s 1st Congressional District will see a March 1 runoff between Republicans Jerry Carl and Bill Hightower, according to unofficial results from the Tuesday primary election.
Carl, a Mobile County Commissioner, edged out just in front with about 39% of the vote. Hightower, a former state senator, took home about 37%. Current state Rep. Chris Pringle got about 19%.
Carl said he is encouraged by Tuesday’s results and thinks his support for President Donald Trump will pull him ahead.
“I’m extremely encouraged by tonight’s results — they show that the voters want a conservative with a backbone,” Carl said in a written statement. “They want someone who is Trump-tough. They want someone who delivers and that’s exactly what I’ve done throughout my career.”
Hightower said he was grateful for the support he received.
“Voters responded to our positive message of defending the unborn, protecting our liberties, and holding career politicians accountable, and they rewarded our campaign with spot in the Republican run-off election,” Hightower said. “Our message will not change. We will continue to fight for our Alabama values, and we will stand alongside President Trump and his agenda to Keep America Great.”
Wes Lambert, a Spanish Fort restaurateur, and John Castorani, a Fairhope military veteran, came in third and fourth place respectfully with 3% and 2% of the vote.
Democrats are also headed to a runoff between biology professor Kiani Gardner and Marine veteran James Averhart. Gardner came out in front with 44% of the vote, Averhart received 40%, according to unofficial results.
The district has been reliably Republican for more 50 years and has been held by Rep. Bradley Byrne since 2013. He gave up the seat to run for U.S. Senate and came in third Tuesday night.
Hightower came into the final weeks of the campaign with $249,274 cash on hand, Carl came in with $266,721 cash on hand. Hightower amassed $673,552 in donations. Carl ended the final quarter with $964,209 in total receipts but a large portion of that was from personal loans.
Hightower also into the race with some name recognition after his failed attempt at the Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2018.
The coastal area district includes Mobile, Baldwin, Escambia, Monroe and Washington counties as well as a portin of Clarke County.