HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The same group that spent almost $5 million dollars to elect Sen. Luther Strange in the Alabama Senate Republican Primary will hold off on spending money in the general election race.
The Senate Leadership Fund tells WHNT News 19 they still support Roy Moore in the December General Election, but they don’t plan on spending money to get him elected.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is considered a heavy influence over the SuperPAC, although technically the organization is not associated with the Republican leader.
For two months straight, attack ads produced by the SLF dominated the airwaves, going after anyone not named Sen. Luther Strange. The group spent $5 million on ads throughout the primary and runoff election.
Chris Pack, the SLF’s Communications Director, released a statement to WHNT News 19 saying, “We hope those who helped Moore in the primary will stay focused on keeping this seat in Republican hands. In terms of spending, we’re monitoring the race closely to see if Democrats demonstrate this is a competitive race.”
WHNT News 19’s Political Analyst John Meredith says the PAC likely has other reasons, namely, President Trump’s candidate, Luther Strange, not taking home the prize.
“He and Senator McConnell took a pretty bad shellacking. Their backing of Strange, they lost two elections, they dropped a boatload of money into the state,” says Meredith.
The Senate Leadership Fund didn’t rule out spending money if the race gets tight. Meredith believes that’s not a likely scenario.
“I tend to look at the metrics as well and think, man it’s going to be hard for the state of Alabama to elect someone who is not a Republican,” he says.
Meredith says a Doug Jones victory isn’t impossible either.
“He’s gonna have to galvanize the black turnout like never before and I think the best way to do that, and frankly to hit those Republicans as well, is to do an old style grassroots door knocking campaign,” says Meredith.
Then there’s the question if the barrage of negative ads were effective.
Meredith still believes those ads can be effective, just that the Senate Leadership Fund underestimated how unpopular Sen. Strange was, in a campaign that could be described the same way.
“If they had spent a week in Alabama and even if they had only gone to the major urban areas, they would have known that Luther Strange did not have the support of most Alabamians,” says Meredith.
A representative of the Doug Jones campaign declined to comment, while Roy Moore’s spokesman did not reply.