Although he’s got little to no money in his campaign account, Democratic candidate Burton LeFlore is encouraged by other indicators going toward the general election pitting him against his Republican counterpart Bradley Byrne Dec. 17.
In a district that’s been held by a Republican for more than half a century, Leflore said the fact the race is a special election for an open seat works in his favor. Not to mention the discontentedness within the Republican party bubbling to the surface of the runoff between Byrne and Dean Young earlier this month.
“Our campaign has been struggling financially but building momentum,” LeFlore said last week. “It’s a grassroots, get-out-the-vote effort, but right now it’s never been more favorable for a Democrat to take the seat back.”
LeFlore said the Republican runoff was indicative of a larger problem and lack of cohesiveness in Congress, which he said was caused by Republicans determined to block any progress made on the opposite side of the aisle, who instead of proposing solutions of their own, use their positions to marginalize their opponents.
“What we’re seeing is something bordering on anarchy. People are struggling and the government is in crisis and the supermajority in the House of Representatives is not focused on economic recovery, but they are instead trying to redistrict and gerrymander certain districts where a lot of Democrats vote,” he said.
Yet Burton conceded that Democrats weren’t without fault and admitted the Affordable Healthcare Act is deserving of some of the criticism it has received.
“It’s not a perfect solution,” LeFlore said of the law. “It is very complex legislation and there are some kinks, but give it some time to work or at least be willing to help fix it. We need healthcare in Alabama. We’ve got one of highest infant mortality rates and one of the lowest life expectancy in all 50 states. We also have the highest indicators of bad health. At some point or another we need healthcare, and I have a number of issues with the ACA. It disincentivizes full-time employment and I have a problem with the IRS being able to penalize individuals that don’t comply. Some aspects need to be repealed, but it’s a law and this country should give it an opportunity and not try to derail before it gets out of the box. And it’s certainly not worth shutting the government down.”
LeFlore is a Mobile native and Florida State University law school graduate who operates a real estate business. He is the grandson of civil rights activist John LeFlore and the son of a physician and chemistry teacher. He has five children of his own.
Speaking on reports of Democrats influencing the runoff between Byrne and Young, LeFlore said he has no doubt some of his supporters voted, but he said he didn’t encourage it.
“I’ve always said I’d rather run uncontested, but to me, it doesn’t matter who else is on the ballot. I was at a meeting with my supporters and asked how many voted in the runoff and half of them raised their hands. Of those, half voted for Byrne and half voted for Dean Young. Clearly there was a move to go out and try to influence the election, but I didn’t encourage it.”
LeFlore said he expected to meet Byrne again during a candidate forum at McGill-Toolen Catholic High School Dec. 4.
“Hopefully people can come out and support it and listen to what I have to say and what my opponent has to say and make an informed decision,” he said. “What it comes down to is whether you want the status-quo and to keep kicking the can down the road or whether you want someone like me, who has no agenda and who isn’t financed by special interests and is only focused on the people and the issues important to the district. The nation is watching and we have an opportunity to make history.”