When Byron Shehee pulled off the biggest upset in Alabama election history, TBAF President John Pudner was shocked.
“Jessica Mims (current TBAF Operations Director) and I were running the political operation for the third biggest PAC in the state, the Alabama Farmers Federation, and I still remember telling the Republican Senate Minority leader, "You know the one race you are never going to win is against (Senate Majority Leader) Lowell Barron, but I’m sure you just want to keep him busy,’” John recalled. “When I heard the result, I was just in shock. Byron’s win was quite an inspiration. In fact, four years later, it was on my mind when I was getting national media attention for defeating Eric Cantor in an almost identical scenario.”
Byron’s shocking win was managing Shadrack McGill (R) from a 30-point deficit to a 20,603 - 20,106 victory over seven-term incumbent Barron (D). But his success didn’t end there. In addition to working with multiple winning state legislative races, Byron also ran a successful campaign for Georgia Congressman Rick Allen, and has managed gubernatorial, congressional and Secretary of State campaigns in both Alabama and Georgia. Recently, Byron was a key member of the grassroots and lobbying operations for US Term Limits in the Southeast. His background also includes research, speechwriting, fundraising appeals, and public relations.
Recruiting Byron to run its Georgia Instant Runoff effort was TBAF’s top priority at the end of 2019. Unfortunately, prior political commitments precluded him from joining at that time, although TBAF did ultimately secure the ability of Georgia military and overseas voters to rank their candidates, so they no longer need to attempt to return a second ballot in time for a 6-week runoff. (TBAF supports instant runoffs in local elections, as well as other election changes in the state that could help mitigate the nastiness of recent elections.)
While President John Pudner’s recent relocation to Milwaukee to personally oversee Midwest Grassroots efforts has reduced its physical presence in the South, TBAF remains active in and committed to these states that have been so receptive to its mission. Alabama, in particular, gave TBAF one of its 5-for-5 statewide referenda victories in March 2020 (see press release below), despite having been outspent by the opposition $1 million to $100,000. As full-time Southern Field Director, Byron will work closely with remaining Alabama-based team members Anna Carter and Jessica Mims, as well as South Carolina-based National Field Director Lars Wiechmann, to ensure continued success in the region.
SUPER TUESDAY, TBAF 5-0 (resend of March 3, 2020 press release)
As election results rolled in from throughout the country, it was truly a SUPER TUESDAY for Take Back Action Fund, which finished the night 5-0 in state referenda. The final vote in Alabama more than justified the almost $100,000 in radio and social media run by Take Back Action Fund to stop a proposal to change the elected State Board of Education to an appointed one (election day story here).
State TBAF Side Percent Opposing Side
Alabama 837,234 75% 277,320
Michigan 2,519,975 61% 1,592,910
North Dakota 169,676 54% 146,709
Ohio 1,178,468 75% 395,088
South Dakota 180,634 52% 169,199