Mark Bray, independent candidate for Alabama’s 5th Congressional District, addresses supporters at the formal campaign announcement at the Furniture Factory Bar and Grill July 25. (Record Photo/Nick Sellers)
Mark Bray, independent candidate for Alabama’s 5th Congressional District, addresses supporters at the formal campaign announcement at the Furniture Factory Bar and Grill July 25. (Record Photo/Nick Sellers)

Archived Story

Mo Brooks’ challenger enters new phase of campaign

Published 2:53pm Monday, July 28, 2014

By Nick Sellers | Staff Reporter

HUNTSVILLE – The major hurdle for congressional candidate Mark Bray has been cleared after he turned in 7,700 signatures to the Alabama Secretary of State’s office by the June 3 deadline.

It was nearly 1,000 more signatures than Bray needed to get his name on the ballot for Alabama’s 5th Congressional District in November as an Independent, and Friday’s gathering at the Furniture Factory Bar and Grill in downtown Huntsville was essentially an acknowledgment of that fact.

“Now our campaign is shifting gears from, “let’s get him on the ballot,’ to, ‘let’s get out the vote,’” campaign manager John Chapman said.

The evening event drew supporters to hear Bray give a message of thanks for the progress made and to reiterate his campaign’s inclusive message.

In early spring, it appeared the incumbent Brooks would run unopposed in the general election before his June 3 primary victory. Now Bray is on the November ballot.

He got the idea to run, Chapman said, after the government shutdown last fall.

“He told me, ‘This may sound like a crazy idea, but I can no longer wait on the sidelines,’” Chapman said.

In his short speech at the informal gathering, Bray acknowledged the reality of Brooks’ war chest and admitted he couldn’t compete with the spending.

“I’m not going to outspend the incumbent,” he said, reinforcing his campaign’s grassroots approach.

Bray said the notion to run as an independent stemmed from the fact he holds ideas from both parties.

“Ultimately, this is for them to fill a void,” Bray said, referring to liberal voters in the district.

Bray also said Brooks told him on April 22 he would be willing to engage in a debate with Bray before the general election if he qualified to be included on the ballot.

 

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