By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter
U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks joined his former primary opponent, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, in Huntsville on Saturday to announce that he had voted for Moore in the Senate primary runoff.
Brooks, a former Republican candidate himself, said he filed and his wife, Martha Brooks, voted absentee for Moore.
“Elections are about choices,” Brooks said. “In this Senate race, the choice is Luther Strange or Roy Moore. Martha, my wife, and I have made our choice.”
Brooks, who represents North Alabama’s 5th Congressional District, had strong support in both Madison and Limestone Counties, which are considered battlegrounds in the runoff election. Brooks won Limestone County by more than 10 percentage points and Madison County by nearly 25 percentage points.
Where Brooks’ support in both counties goes in the runoff could be a key factor in determining the winner.
Statewide, the supporters of Brooks, who finished third in the August primary, seem to split between Moore and Strange. According to an Emerson College poll, a third go for each candidate while another third remains undecided.
The automated landline poll also gives Moore a 14 percentage point lead over Strange going into the Sept. 26 runoff election. Moore polls at 40 percent while Strange is down at 26 percent. More than 34 percent remain undecided.
President Donald Trump announced over the weekend that he would be coming back to North Alabama, where he rallied last year for his own primary, to give support to Sen. Luther Strange, referring admiringly to him as “Big Luther” in a Tweet announcing his visit.
Allies of Strange, including the Senate Leadership Fund, a Super PAC aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel, launched a stinging series of attack ads against Brooks earlier in the primary. Strange’s allies chose to focus more on Brooks than Moore.
“The ad was rubbish, without an ounce of truth,” Brooks said of one of the ads, which Brooks said painted him as a supporter of ISIS. “But the Strange-McConnell forces launched the ad anyway because they thought they could get away with it because I lacked the financial resources to hold them accountable.”
Brooks and Moore avoided any pointed criticisms of one another in the primaries and have a similar anti-establishment tint to their politics, which might be why Brooks is backing Moore.
“So this Senate race is down to this: we are in an epic battle between the people of Alabama who put America First and the Washington Swamp that hopes to buy Alabama’s Senate seat and put America second!” Brooks said on Saturday.