By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., endorsed appointed Sen. Luther Strange, R-Ala., in the Republican primary runoff on Sept. 26. The endorsement is being promulgated in a statewide direct mail campaign paid for by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and their Alabama affiliate: the Business Council of Alabama (BCA).
“As has been reported, the U.S. Chamber is backing Luther Strange in the race for Alabama’s U.S. Senate seat,” Megan Etten, a spokesperson for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said. “Today, the U.S. Chamber, in partnership with the Business Council of Alabama, will deliver a statewide mailer to Republican primary voters urging them to vote for Senator Luther Strange in the September 26 runoff election. The mailer features an endorsement from Senator Richard Shelby; it’s the first action he’s taken in this race.”
“Additionally, the U.S. Chamber is going up this weekend with new television and digital advertisements, our first in this race, in support of Sen. Strange,” Etten said. “The ad reinforces Sen. Strange’s pro-business, conservative credentials and will air during the Alabama and Auburn college football games on Saturday afternoon. The Business Council of Alabama has also sponsored this advertising campaign. We plan to be on air through the election.”
“The Business Council of Alabama is proud to endorse U.S. Sen. Luther Strange in his bid to continue to serve the people of Alabama in the United States Senate,” Jeff Coleman, chairman of the BCA, said. “Sen. Strange has built his reputation on being a tireless advocate for the growth and progress of the state of Alabama. The Business Council of Alabama believes Luther Strange has the experience and proven leadership needed in the halls of Congress.”
Senator Shelby said that Strange has done an, “Outstanding job representing Alabama” in the U.S. Senate and is the “right person to continue working on behalf of our great state.”
“He has consistently stood up for Alabama’s values,” Shelby said. “He not only understands the complex issues facing our nation, but he is also poised to help continue Alabama’s growth and economic development. I need a dependable partner in the Senate to fight for the people of Alabama, and Luther Strange is the man for the job.”
According to original reporting by The Washington Examiner’s David M. Drucker, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has committed to spending $138,000 in television ads promoting Strange beginning Saturday and running through the election on Sept. 26.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s super PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund has committed to spending $3.5 million on ads in the final weeks of the campaign alone. The National Rifle Association (NRA) is spending $525,000 to inundate the state with ads promoting “Big Luther.”
According to some media accounts, the combined efforts to elect Strange as Alabama’s next senator is approaching spending $10 million…..most all of that spent by special interest outside of the state of Alabama.
Strange has a team of door to door campaigners focusing on the Jefferson, Baldwin, Shelby, and Madison County areas to get out the suburban vote, which he hopes is more favorable to his more secular approach to governance. Strange has had to struggle with the perception that he made some sort of illicit deal with then Gov. Robert Bentley in order to get appointed to the vacancy created when Jeff Sessions became U.S. attorney general.
Bentley was never indicted by Strange or his team at the Alabama Attorney General’s Office, even though he was being investigated by them, the Alabama House Judiciary Committee, and the Alabama Ethics Commission. Bentley plead guilty to two misdemeanor campaign violation resigning before be ing the first governor of Alabama ever impeached.
Strange’s opponent, former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court Roy Moore, has had to rely more on grassroots volunteers and small contributions in order to fund his campaign.
The Republican runoff is on Sept. 26.
The winner will face Doug Jones in the special general election on Dec. 12, 2017.