Madison County Commission chairman Dale Strong Tuesday night notched the GOP nomination for Alabama’s open fifth congressional district seat, defeating former Huntsville City Schools superintendent Casey Wardynski.
According to ballot returns as of reporting time, Strong is garnering 63.29% compared to Wardynski’s 36.71%. Presently, 69% of district precincts have reported.
National elections expert and U.S. House senior editor of The Cook Political Report has called the election in Strong’s favor.
Strong, who held frontrunner status throughout the entirety of the race, nearly clinched the Republican Party nomination outright in the May 24 primary election as he earned 44.7% of all votes cast.
Strong’s victory comes on the heels of his candidacy facing an aggressive onslaught of negative ad spending from pro-Wardynski forces.
In the closing days of the primary, the race became increasingly combative between the race’s top-two contenders, something which remained consistent throughout the runoff.
In a last-minute turn for the dramatics, a text message was sent to Republican voters Monday evening falsely claiming that Wardynski held the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, which prompted the 45th president’s Save America PAC to issue its first statement in the race to clarify the inaccurate assertion.
However, the Election Day eve text message scheme proved to no avail as the Republican electorate chose Strong as its candidate of preference for the open fifth congressional district seat.
Elected as the first GOP member of the Madison County Commission, Strong became the state of Alabama’s youngest Republican elected official in 1996. Strong gained his chairmanship in 2012.
The chairman is best known as a conservative reformer, as he and the Republican-controlled Madison County Commission significantly lessened the local government’s debt burden, oversaw historic economic growth, and last year notched the county’s highest-ever bond rating.
During his tenure, Strong assisted in the successful recruitment efforts in landing projects such as Toyota-Mazda, Polaris, Facebook, Blue Origin and GE Aviation to North Alabama.
The GOP congressional nominee also played a role in supporting delegation efforts in ensuring Redstone Arsenal served as an attractive location for the FBI and U.S. Space Command.
Strong will face a final hurdle in the November 8 general election, as the contest is now set between the Madison County Commission chairman and Democratic Party nominee Kathy Warner-Stanton to determine who will replace outgoing U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville).
As the Republican electorate heavily outnumbers the fifth congressional district’s Democratic voting bloc, Strong is the heavily-favored frontrunner to become the next congressman representing the Tennessee Valley on Capitol Hill.
Strong looks to become part of what is predicted to be a new Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL