Tea partying Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks has been considering a primary bid against appointed GOP Sen. Luther Strange in this year’s special election, and he tells the Montgomery Advertiser’s Deborah Barfield Berry that he expects to make his “firm decision” around May 15, two days before the filing deadline.
Brooks also says he’s been polling a hypothetical six-way August GOP primary testing himself against Strange, ex-state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, and three unnamed other candidates. Brooks didn’t reveal any more information (not even the name of the pollster), except that Brooks says Moore was in first with about 30 percent of the vote, Strange had about 20, Brooks as in the low double-digits, and the other three were taking single digits. That’s very little information to go off of, but it’s certainly unusual for a politician to volunteer that he’s polling that far behind. If no one takes a majority in the first round of the primary, there will be a September runoff.
Meanwhile, Strange’s allies in the Senate GOP leadership are doing their best to ensure that the new senator’s primary is as easy as possible. On Monday, the Senate Leadership Fund, which is close to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, announced that they had reserved $2.6 million in ad time to help Strange ahead of the primary. SLF’s spokesman claims the buy is a fraction of what they’re planning to spend, and given how well-funded the group is, he probably isn’t bluffing. Their moves comes a few days after Politico reported that SLF is “very openly digging up dirt on Alabama state Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh’s ties to unpopular ex-Gov. Robert Bentley.” Marsh has been flirting with a Senate bid for a while and sounded likely to get in last week. Politico previously reported that the NRSC threatened to blacklist any consulting group that worked for any of Strange’s opponents.