By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
A Washington, DC campaign consulting firm recently pulled out of its contract with Judge Roy Moore after the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) threatened to blackball any shop that worked against its handpicked candidate, Senator Luther Strange. Now, conservatives in Alabama can add elite Washington, DC Republicans to the long list of those who are working to stop Moore’s political career.
“The Beltway establishment is trying to sabotage Judge Moore’s campaign, but they will fail,” said Moore’s Communications Director, Dean Young. According to Young, a very dedicated Moore supporter and well known South Alabama conservative firebrand, “I count it as a good thing. Number one, because they have identified who their candidate [Strange] is and that’s not going to play well down here.” Young added, “They must have missed the 2016 Presidential election when Alabamians overwhelmingly voted for Donald Trump to drain the swamp they call home.”
Young says there’s a direct link to Moore’s announcement for the US Senate and the threats from NRSC. The NRSC, according to its website, “is the only National organization solely devoted to strengthening the Republican Senate Majority, and electing Republicans to the United States Senate.”
“Judge Moore makes his announcement on the April 26, then on the 27th, the Republican establishment comes out and says anyone who runs against their establishment candidate or anybody that helps anyone running against their candidate will be blackballed,” said Young. “The next day, which would have been Friday, Judge Moore’s entire consulting firm quit; walked off.” (Young would not identify the group per Moore’s instructions.)
While Young admits the firm’s departure hurt in the short-term, he is confident it will bolster Moore’s campaign in the long run. “When Judge Moore got into the race they [establishment] knew they were in trouble,” said Young. “Surely they can read the polls.”
Recent polls show Moore is leading a possible field of candidates by 30 points, with Strange trailing far behind.
Moore supporters believe Strange is damaged goods because of the events surrounding his appointment to replace Senator Jeff Sessions after the Trump administration made him Attorney General.
The now-disgraced Robert Bentley appointed Strange at a time when the beleaguered Governor was under investigation by Strange’s office. Strange denied this while he was being vetted for the Senate by Bentley which was not true. All of these events have left a bitter taste that still lingers for reporters and many Alabama voters.
Bentley had hoped to insure Strange’s incumbency by setting the Special Election to replace Sessions in 2018. But Bentley’s replacement, Gov. Kay Ivey, moved the Special Election citing the Alabama State law. However, the NRSC has determined Strange is their incumbent and NRSC Communications Director, Katie Martin said, “We have made it very clear from the beginning that Senator Luther Strange would be treated as an incumbent. It has also been a clear policy that we will not use vendors who work against our incumbents.”
But the NRSC is not the only elite Washington establishment group that is behind Strange. The Senate Leadership Fund Super PAC announced a $2.6 million media buy in support of Strange’s Senate bid. Senate Leadership Fund spokesman, Chris Pack, told the Associated Press that “the buy is a fraction of what the group plans on spending to support Strange.”
This copious amount of funding and political bravado is meant to frighten would-be challengers out of the race; thereby clearing a path for their chosen candidate. The SLP is an offshoot of Karl Rove’s American Crossroads Establishment Imperium to ensure the continuance of the status quo. The SLP says, “it aims to be the go-to destination for major Republican donors interested in Senate races” and is “devoted solely to retaining the Senate majority.”
But, any observer of Alabama politics understands that odds are that any Senator elected from the State will be a Republican. The question is: will they be a conservative?
Before Bentley appointed Strange to replace Jeff Sessions, he met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in Washington. According to sources who traveled with Bentley, McConnell asked that Bentley appoint a moderate conservative and not a “freedom caucus type.”
Strange, who has spent most of his adult career as a registered lobbyist in Washington (for companies like Sonnet and Transocean OffShore Drilling Co.), doesn’t have a voting record from which voters can glean his political values. However, in 2006, in a bid to be the State’s Lieutenant Governor, he was handily dispatched by Democrat Jim Folsom, Jr., who labeled Strange a Mountain Brook elite (referring to the tony Birmingham Community Strange called home at the time).
Moore’s communications director Young doesn’t see voters confusing who is a conservative in a face to face match up between Strange and Judge Moore. “People have known Judge Moore for two decades, and he stands for what is right, whether you agree with him or you don’t agree with him, you know what he stands for. It’s very clear,” said Young. “Washington will not change Judge Moore; he will change it. It won’t matter, come hell or high water, he is not going to bow to the Establishment. He is not going to go up to Washington and bow to their wishes he will stand strong like he did against the JIC, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the ACLU, and the list goes on, he is not going bend his knee to the DC elites, he will fight for what is right and that is what the Establishment is scared of.”
As with most Special Elections, voter turn out is expected to be low, but Moore’s supporters, as Young points out, will show up on election day. “Come rain, sleet, or snow,” Young says, “Moore will be the most conservative constitutionalist in the US Senate by far. And the establishment may have their candidate, but the people of Alabama will have theirs too.”
To learn more about Judge Moore’s campaign, visit www.judgemooreforsenate.com.