By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Saturday, Sept, 16, 2017, Sen. Luther Strange’s, R-Ala., campaign got a huge boost when President Donald Trump went on Twitter to announce that he is coming to Huntsville next Saturday to campaign on behalf of Strange.
“I will be in Huntsville, Alabama, on Saturday night to support Luther Strange for Senate,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “‘Big Luther’ is a great guy who gets things done!”
“I’m honored to have President Donald J. Trump’s endorsement,” Strange said. “I talk to him virtually every week. He’s all in. He wants someone in Washington he can work with. And why does he pick me? Because I’ve been in Washington for the last seven months working tirelessly to promote his agenda.”
“Thank you, Mr. President,” Strange wrote on Twitter. “Honored to have your support & excited you’re coming to AL! Going to be a great event! #ALSEN”
This is the second time that the president has intervened in the last week before an election to aid Luther Strange. A week before the special Republican Primary, polls showed Strange leading U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, by only two or three percentage points for the second place finish that would put either Strange or Moore in a Republican primary runoff with front-runner former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore.
The president endorsed Strange then and recorded a phone message for Strange that went out to likely Republican Primary voters across the state. The move worked, and all the undecideds broke to Strange. Brooks held on to his core 19.7 percent; but finished over 13 percentage points behind Strange. Strange however still finished six percentage points behind Moore.
Moore has led this race throughout this race, but powerful forces in Washington decided early on that they wanted Luther Strange for the Senate and have conspired to get him elected at all costs. Republican campaign managers and consultants were told that they would never work again for any GOP cause or candidate if they opposed Strange. Prospective candidates were warned to stay out of this race and many, including Alabama Pro-Temp Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, backed out of runs given the resources that the Washington establishment was unleashing on behalf of Strange. Over $10 million has been spent in this race by organizations like the U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., aligned Senate Leadership Fund (SLF), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the National Rifle Association (NRA) to aid Strange.
The president is wildly popular in Alabama. Trump won Alabama by a larger margin than any Republican in state history since Richard Nixon in 1972. His nationally televised 2015 rally in Mobile, attended by more people than any other political rally in the campaign, propelled him into first place in a crowded GOP Primary field, a position he never relinquished.
Trump’s 2016 rally in Madison County filed another football stadium, and together with a Sen. Jeff Sessions endorsement, propelled his campaign to a crushing victory, not just in Alabama; but across the Super Tuesday landscape, effectively ending any legitimate hopes of his rivals of being competitive down the stretch in taking the nomination.
It remains to be seen if Trump’s coattails are long enough to overcome Moore, who is leading Strange by 11 percentage points in the RealClearPolitics rolling average.
The GOP primary runoff is on Sept. 26. The President’s visit will be on Saturday.
The eventual winner will face former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones in the special general election on Dec. 12.