Alabama state Rep. Robert Bentley has won the Republican primary for governor, defeating former state community college system chancellor Bradley Byrne in the race to succeed term-limited GOP Gov. Bob Riley.
With 81% of precincts reporting, Bentley leads Byrne by 56%-44%. Back in the June 1 first-round primary, Byrne led with 28% of the vote, with Bentley just barely edging out businessman Tim James for second place at 25% apiece.
This race has seen its fair share of wacky stuff. A teachers union opposed to Byrne set up a phony conservative PAC attacking him on the grounds that he's for teaching evolution -- prompting him to assure the public that he is a staunch creationist. As for Bentley, he came under scrutiny for his ads depicting him as a "Hospital Commander Vietnam War," when in fact he did not serve overseas in Vietnam at all, but was instead a doctor at a military base in North Carolina.
Bentley will now face Democratic state Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks, who won his nomination outright back on June 1.