The White House and GOP elites are adopting a “scorched earth” policy with regards to the Alabama Senate race, unleashing one last wave of big money attacks at conservative opponent Roy Moore as part of the death rattle of Sen. Luther Strange’s failing establishment campaign.
Politico reports that the White House and allies of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have launched “the full weight of the party machinery” to stop Moore after a big endorsement from President Trump — who appeared at a campaign rally in Huntsville Friday — appears not to have tightened the race enough to overcome the yawning deficit between the two candidates.
Polls taken before Trump’s rally showed Moore around 8-10 points ahead in the race before voters go to the polls on Tuesday to pick the Republican candidate for the Senate election in December. Politico reports GOP elites as apprehensive about the race and are pushing the panic button.
“With Strange on the ropes and time running out, the party has launched a coordinated, scorched-earth campaign to take down Moore,” the outlet reports, adding that “the sheer breadth of the anti-Moore campaign has stunned Alabama’s political class.”
That campaign includes a barrage of TV-ads, a massive get-out-of-the-vote effort, and a hoard of oppo research for Strange’s debate prep. Such prep was not immediately clear in the debate Thursday, when a nervous Strange made constant, exhausted references to President Trump and accused Moore of attacking him instead of debating the issues.
Yet it is on the issues where Strange is at his most vulnerable. He has dodged questions on his stance on DACA, has made voters nervous with his history as a D.C. lobbyist, and lobbied for trade deals that drained thousands of Alabama jobs to Honduras and Mexico.
Trump tried to shore up Strange’s numbers Friday by calling Strange a “real fighter and a real good guy,” and by downplaying Strange’s links to McConnell. However, even Trump struggled not to be too enthusiastic about the failing candidate, telling the crowd by saying he “might have made a mistake” in his endorsement and that he would support Roy Moore if he won the primary.
Politico reports that top Republicans are jumpy that a Moore win could spark a broader offensive against other establishment-backed incumbents ahead of the 2018 midterms. That is reflected in the sheer quantity of money spent on the race. In addition to the millions already spent by groups like the McConnell-backed Senate Leadership Fund and the Chamber of Commerce, an additional $2.5 million has been spent pummeling voters with anti-Moore TV and radio ads in the last week alone.
What Strange is bringing to the table in terms of money, Moore is matching in terms of support. On Thursday, grassroots heroes Sebastian Gorka and Sarah Palin campaigned for Moore after the debate.
On Monday Breitbart News Executive Chairman Steve Bannon, along with Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson and Nigel Farage — one of the masterminds behind the British “Brexit” movement — will campaign for Moore.
Adam Shaw is a Breitbart News politics reporter based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamShawNY