MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The race for the Republican nomination for Governor is getting closer and the rhetoric is getting hotter. An independent poll shows two front runners - Bradley Byrne and Tim James are neck and neck. Now, Byrne says James got rich from his father's influence and power while he was Governor in the late 90's.
There was an empty chair during one of the radio morning talk shows. Bradley Byrne and Tim James were to have a debate but James never showed up. Byrne says he wanted to ask him questions about the toll bridge he built going to the beach.
In his ads, James boasts of being a businessman and he points to the Foley Beach Express to prove it. Byrne says James talked about how that construction came about while they were on a previous radio show. "He said in the spring of 1996 his father, Governor Fob James, passed a law that allowed those sorts of toll roads to take place in the state of Alabama."
He calls James the ultimate insider because Byrne says it was his James' father, the Governor, who made the businessman successful. "His father lost the general election in 1998 and that's when things went into overdrive. All sorts of corners were being cut. All sorts of approvals started being circumvented in order to get this thing done before his father left office."
James has also boasted that no taxpayers dollars went into the project but Byrne says he's found proof that that's not true. "Just 12 days before his father left office as Governor his father signed a document which we have a copy for you today that sent 7 1/2 million dollars to the road that goes to the bridge. The road without which this bridge would be worth nothing,."
Tim James campaign says Bradley Byrne has the roads all wrong. Campaign workers say the Foley Beach Express bridge was developed by Tim James and financed 100% with private funds.
You may remember James later sold that bridge for an undisclosed amount of money and the bridge is now owned by a foreign company.