By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, August 8, 2017, Senator Luther Strange (R) finally got that big moment he had been hoping for when President Donald J. Trump (R) endorsed him in the Special Republican Primary for US Senate.
President Trump said on his Twitter account: “Senator Luther Strange has done a great job representing the people of the Great State of Alabama. He has my complete and total endorsement.”
Senator Luther Strange has done a great job representing the people of the Great State of Alabama. He has my complete and total endorsement!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 9, 2017
Senator Luther Strange responded to the endorsement in an email to supporters: “Earlier tonight I told you about some big news with yet another Trump campaign official endorsing my candidacy. Now, I’m privileged and honored to announce that President Trump has officially endorsed my campaign to represent the good people of Alabama in the Senate.”
Strange continued, “Throughout this campaign I have promised to stand with President Trump, aggressively pursue his bold agenda, and defend him from the unfair attacks by my opponents, liberals, and the mainstream media. Now is the time to join our team and support my campaign to fight for our president.”
Strange concluded, “It is an honor to work hard beside him to deliver upon his promises to the American people. We have so much work to do.”
Trump’s Alabama Campaign Co-Chair former State Representative Perry Hooper Jr. (R-Prattville) responded in a statement, “I am so proud for my Friend Senator Luther Strange in receiving President Trump’s ‘complete and total endorsement’. Senator Strange has worked diligently every day for Trump’s Agenda and has assumed the position of the President’s Floor Leader. He truly deserves this endorsement. I also want to personally thank President Trump for his bold statement of support. This is true leadership, not politics as usual.”
Not everyone was happy with the news.
Trump’s Alabama Campaign Co-Chair State Representative Ed Henry (R-Hartselle) said, “It’s a sad day for Alabama when Trump let’s the swamp dictate who he endorses for our Senator. We chose Trump to break the stranglehold the political elitists have on our Nation, not to have him tighten the grip. Sad, sad day.”
State Senator Dick Brewbaker (R-Montgomery) said on social media: “DT knows as much about Alabama as a pig knows about Sunday.”
State Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) also commented on Twitter, “I don’t think Pres Trump has the facts about Luther Strange and how he got appointed by ex-gov Bentley.”
State Representative Mack Butler (R-Rainbow City) said in a statement on Facebook, “I love President Trump but he apparently doesn’t know what I know about how our then Attorney General misled the Alabama Legislature regarding the investigation of Gov Robert Bentley. Trump is entitled to his opinion but this is Alabama’s call. I proudly endorse Judge Roy Moore for the United States Senate.”
Earlier in the day Strange was endorsed by another Trump for Alabama Co-Chair State Representative Jim Carns (R-Vestavia). Carns said, “I think you have to look at what he’s done since he’s been in Montgomery, and that speaks for itself. Now he’s gone to Washington and done the same thing. All we can do is say, We want more. Come on, Luther, we want four more years right now.”
Hooper also endorsed Strange (in his case for the second time). Hooper said in a statement afterwards, “I was very proud to stand beside my good friend Representative and Trump State Chairman Jim Carns as we both endorsed Senator Luther Strange for Senate in next Tuesday’s primary.”
Hooper added, “Senator Luther Strange has been my good friend for over thirty years since my first days in the Alabama Legislature. He was a great Supporter of my Father in his election as Alabama’s First Republican Chief Justice. Because of his integrity, character, and hard work he demonstrated fighting the implementation of Obamacare and Obama’s Policies, and fighting corruption in Alabama, The Republican Attorney’s General Elected Senator Strange to lead their 26-member association. As Senator, Luther has shown that he not only ‘talks the talk, but walks the walk.’”
Prior to the endorsements, Strange’s campaign was struggling. Despite his campaign and his DC controlled PAC allies spending $millions of dollars more than all of his rivals combined, recent polling showed that only 22 percent of likely Republican voters were supporting Luther Strange. Moore has led in all but two outlier polls and was most recently at 30 percent. Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) was in a tight third place with 19 percent. Seventeen percent though are still undecided. The Strange campaign is hoping that the endorsement of the President will bring all of those undecideds to his campaign.
Then Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange was appointed by former Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) when Sen. Jeff Sessions vacated the seat to become U.S. Attorney General. His opponents, including Rep. Brooks, allege that Strange acted improperly by asking Gov. Bentley to appoint him to the Senate after Bentley had become a subject in a criminal investigation headed by Strange. Strange also requested that the House Judiciary Committee suspends its hearings on impeaching Bentley. There have been several ethics complaints field against Strange before the Alabama Ethics Commission. The Commission however will not act on any of those complaints before the special primary on August 15.
President Donald J. Trump, Republican super strategist Karl Rove, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R from Kentucky) have all now come together to support Strange in the Republican Primary.
Is this enough to win over Alabama voters? They will decide on Tuesday, August 15.