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Bryan Taylor in chief justice race: ‘It’s important for Republicans to have a true conservative’

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — In his bid for Alabama Supreme Court chief justice, former state senator Bryan Taylor is leaning into the judicial and military experience that he says makes him the most conservative candidate in the race.

Taylor received a law degree from the University of Texas in 2001, working on President George Bush’s campaign while finishing school. Taylor would later serve a tour in Iraq as a military prosecutor.

After returning home, Taylor served under Gov. Bob Riley as a legal advisor before stepping down from the position to run for the Alabama Senate in 2010, declining to run for reelection after his first term. He later served as general counsel under Gov. Kay Ivey, and has also worked with the Alabama Republican Party as deputy legal counsel.

With Chief Justice Tom Parker stepping down from his role in 2025, Taylor said his primary motivation in deciding to run was to give Alabamians the opportunity to have a “true conservative” on the ballot.

“We have too many out of control liberal judges that are using the bench to advance their own personal or political agendas, and we don’t need another one in charge of the Alabama court system,” Taylor told Alabama Daily News. 

“Six months after my (Republican) opponent (Alabama Supreme Court Associate Justice) Sarah Stewart announced, I realized and feared that she was going to be uncontested. I thought it was very important for Republicans to have a true conservative that they could vote for and hold their head high knowing that they had cast a vote for conservative leadership of the courts.”

According to a recent poll commissioned by Alabama Daily News and Gray Television, a majority of Republican voters – nearly 80% – said they were still undecided as to who they would support for chief justice, suggesting a sizable portion of Republican voters were still unfamiliar with the two candidates. Of those polled, 8.6% said they would vote for Taylor, and 11.8% had backed Stewart.

Enthusiasm for Taylor among his supporters also lagged slightly behind Stewart’s, with 3% of the 8.6% saying that they would “definitely” vote for Taylor, and 5.6% saying they would “probably” support him. Comparatively, exactly half of Stewart’s supporters indicated that they would “definitely” support her in the election, the other half indicating they would “probably” do so.

Taylor has also lagged behind Stewart in terms of fundraising, raising just over $71,000 in contributions since launching his campaign last summer to Stewart’s nearly $1.6 million.

Conversely, both candidates have received notable endorsements from conservative leaders across the county. Most recently, former National Security Advisor under President Donald Trump, Michael Flynn, endorsed Taylor on Friday, calling Taylor “exactly the kind of leader and judge that our country needs right now.” Taylor has also picked up the endorsement of the Alabama Realtors Association and the Alabama Forestry Association.

In his 2010 run for state Senate, Taylor managed to flip a Democratic-held seat in the Tea Party wave that saw Republicans gain significant ground in elected positions across the country. 

With fiscal conservatism being a major component of the Tea Party movement, Taylor told ADN that, if elected to chief justice, he would carry those same ideals to the Alabama Supreme Court.

“Fiscal responsibility is a major part of my record; one of the principal duties of the chief justice is the day-to-day management of the entire court system, and that includes crafting the budgets and allocating resources,” he said. 

“So as chief justice, I’m going to make sure that we have all the resources we need for the courts to deliver justice to each of the counties, and we’re going to do it efficiently, effectively and we’re going to make sure that resources get to the places where they’re needed the most, and not based on politics.”

That fiscal conservatism, Taylor said, also extended to economic development, even on the Alabama Supreme Court, and is something he said would improve under his leadership of the court.

“When companies are looking at states about where to create jobs and grow business, they’re looking at the courts,” he said. “Fair courts are part of the state’s economic development project because job creators need to know that they’re going to get a fair shake in Alabama courts if and when they get sued.”

The primary election is  March 5. There is no Democrat on the ballot.

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