Boles concedes, Taylor GOP Senate nominee

Published 10:10 pm Tuesday, June 8, 2010

As Pike County joined the state in finalizing its election totals Tuesday, Republican Senate candidate Bryan Taylor gained five more votes. But, it didn’t much matter.

That’s because at the same time county officials tallied local votes, Taylor’s runoff opponent Ray Boles announced he would concede, making Taylor the Republican nominee who will face long-time Democrat Sen. Wendell Mitchell, D-Luverne in November.

“We’re uniting our efforts to bring conservative leadership to the Senate,” Taylor said.

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Taylor, who led the three-man Senate race with 49 percent of the votes, fell short by only 130 votes to being the winner outright. However, since he did not receive 50 percent of support, it was required he and Boles, the candidate with the next highest numbers, go to a runoff.

Taylor said he had discussed the idea with Boles, and he said Boles told him Monday he was ready to make the announcement.

“I’ve thought and prayed about this decision over the last week, and I believe the best thing I can do is get behind Bryan and get him one step closer toward victory in November,” Boles said, in a Tuesday press conference. “I got into this race for one reason: We need to elect someone to the state Senate who will look out for the people and not the politicians. I’ve gotten to know Bryan pretty well over the last six weeks, and I can tell you that’s why he’s running too.”

Taylor will now enter the General Election race with the support of both Boles and his third opponent Ken Barnett, who said election night Taylor would be his candidate of choice.

“I want to thank Ray for putting principles before politics and graciously endorsing our campaign today,” Taylor said. “I will not rest and will not falter in standing up and fighting for the principles we believe in. If you will lend me your support with the same passion and energy with which you supported Ken and Ray, nothing can stop us from making 2010 the year that honest conservative leadership finally takes chare in Montgomery and hands the State House back to the people of Alabama.”

While Taylor has overcome his primary election hurdle, he will face stiff competition in Mitchell, who has served the seat for more than 25 years.

“What Mr. Boles did was a personal decision on his part. He conceded to the candidate who got 49 percent of the vote,” Mitchell said. “It didn’t then and doesn’t now matter to me who I run against because I’m going to be promoting my record of service to the people.”

While Mitchell has been in poor health recovering from leukemia, he said he is in remission and still plans to stay in the race.

“With about 25 percent of the Senate turning over, it makes experience all the more important. There may be others who don’t return and you certainly need a community of veterans,” Mitchell said. “The candidate I oppose has no experience in public office.”