North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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July 14, 2014

Candidates go into high gear as runoff election day draws near

The Republican runoff election is just a day away, and the remaining candidates for the Sixth District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as those for Alabama Senate District 17, are spending their last full day on the campaign trail.

The Senate race features attorney Brett King of Locust Fork and real estate agent Shay Shelnutt of Trussville. They were the top two vote-getters in a crowded field of seven candidates, who were all trying to win the seat being vacated by Sen. Scott Beason of Gardendale.

King and Shelnutt have stayed largely with the tried-and-true methods of door-to-door campaigning, plus the usual array of signs and billboards. King has also advertised online, particularly through social media. Negative messages by one candidate about the other have been almost non-existent.

King also enjoyed a substantial financial advantage over Shelnutt toward the end of the race, with more than $100,000 still on hand as of his latest electronic campaign finance filing on Monday. Shelnutt was down to less than $4,000, but he had raised close to $100,000 in June, after raising almost that much in contributions.

Endorsements by other prominent elected officials and by their opponents in the primary election are fairly evenly split. Shelnutt did pick up an important endorsement from Beason last week.

The Congressional race has been a much more rough-and-tumble affair, though. State Rep. Paul DeMarco of Homewood and conservative think-tank founder Gary Palmer of Birmingham have seen their faces all over local television and online, with negative campaigning almost the rule rather than the exception. That race has also seen an influx of campaigning by outside independent "super PACs," particularly from the conservative Club for Growth in favor of Palmer and against DeMarco.

Nearly all of the five candidates who were eliminated in the primary election have endorsed Palmer, including third-place finisher Beason. Palmer also picked up a high-profile endorsement from Rick Burgess of the "Rick & Bubba" syndicated radio show.

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