By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
The Alabama Republican Party Committee allowed former Congressman Bobby Bright to remain on the GOP primary ballot.
“We did it!,” Bright announced on social media. “Just walked out of the hearing with Alabama’s GOP leadership, and they gave us the thumbs up! We are officially moving forward on the Republican ballot. Thank you to everyone for the your support and encouragement! Our road back to Congress continues.”
Bright’s candidacy is highly controversial in Republican circles.
Bright is a former Mayor of Montgomery, who was elected to Congress in 2008 as a Democrat with the Democratic wave that put Illinois Sen. Barack Obama in the White House. Bright defeated then State Rep. Jay Love, R-Prattville, for the seat held by Congressman Terry Everett, R-Dothan. That seat had been in Republican hands for 46 years.
In 2010 Republicans, supported by the Tea Party movement, took back control of the U.S. House of Representatives, including Bright’s Second Congressional District. Attorney and Montgomery City Councilwoman Martha Roby narrowly defeated Bright in the Republican wave election of 2010.
Now Bright is back and challenging Roby for his old seat.
Bright was an awkward fit in the Congress. He was one of the more conservative members of the Blue Dog Coalition caucus in a Democratic House Caucus that was increasingly dominated by their rivals in the Progressive Caucus.
He, along with Congressmen Artur Davis, D-Birmingham, and Parker Griffith, D-Huntsville, voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, but there were then enough votes to pass it anyway. Over half of the Blue Dogs were ousted by Republicans in 2010 including Bright.
State Rep. Barry Moore, who is also running for the seat, has been harshly critical of Bright’s GOP candidacy. In an email to supporters before the vote he called the decision to support Bright a “travesty of epic proportions.
“Bobby Bright’s first vote in Congress was for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker, he took $25,000+ in campaign contributions from her, and he voted with her 71 percent of the time,” Moore said in the email. “He called his support for Pelosi a ‘no brainer’ and something he had ‘no regrets’about. He voted to put Obamacare on the floor of the House, frequently opposed a repeal, and even defended this atrocious legislation. As the size of government ballooned, Bobby Bright expressed support for the Obama stimulus.”
Moore also went after Bright’s claim that he was a conservative.
“While conservative Americans fought back, Bobby Bright was on the other side,” Moore said. “As mayor and as a congressman, he established a record as a big government liberal- raising taxes and fees and spending our money like it was going out of style. His roots as a Democrat go back a long time, and he even donated to the Alabama Democrat Party to help elect Don Siegelman.”
Barry Moore, retired U.S. Army Sergeant Major Tommy Amason and former Roy Moore aide, Rich Hobson are also running on the GOP side claiming that the GOP Congresswoman is too moderate.
In 2008 State Sen. Harri Anne Smith, R-Slocumb, ran in the Republican primary for Congressional District 2, but was defeated by Love in the runoff. Smith endorsed Bright in the general election even though he was a Democrat.
The Republican Steering Committee found in favor of a challenge against Smith in 2010 and threw her off of the Republican primary ballot for her support of Bright. Smith was re-elected in 2010 and 2014 as an independent. Smith is planning to run for re-election against as an independent in the Alabama Senate.
Tabitha Isner and Audri Scott Williams are running for the 2nd Congressional District as Democrats.
The major party primaries are on June 5, 2018.