MONTGOMERY, Alabama — Allies of establishment-backed Senate candidate Luther Strange, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, are in full panic mode over the Senate race here just a week away.
The Senate Leadership Fund, a PAC affiliated with McConnell, has dumped another nearly million dollars into Alabama to try to sway the race toward Strange and away from conservative Judge Roy Moore.
Politico’s Jake Sherman first reported the extra money that Senate Leadership Fund is pumping into Alabama, an extra $830,000 in cash for Strange.
MORE! — Senate Leadership Fund just dropped 830k to help Luther Strange and beat up on Roy Moore.
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) September 19, 2017
This comes after millions upon millions that Senate Leadership Fund has already spent for Strange in both the first round of voting before the Aug. 15 primary, and in the second round before the upcoming Sept. 26 GOP primary runoff against Moore. Strange has also seen a million-dollar investment from the NRA, extra money from a PAC connected to President Donald Trump—who is set to campaign for Strange on Friday evening up in Huntsville—and even money from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
None of it is working, as the Moore campaign keeps barreling toward election day with the lead.
“Luther and McConnell have reached a point of diminishing returns with all of these new buys,” Drew Messer, a senior adviser to the Moore campaign, told Breitbart News. “They’ve spent $30 million to barely move the needle. I’m astonished by their lack of understanding of Alabama voters. In what universe do they think Alabama will let some out of touch Republicans from Washington buy their Senate seat? No surprise here—this is clearly a race between Alabama and Washington.”
What’s more, in addition to the funneling of all this big D.C. money into Alabama to try to buy the election for Strange, the tactics of the staff for the Senate Leadership Fund and other McConnell-and-Strange-aligned institutions have only become more desperate.
A press staffer for the Senate Leadership Fund, Chris Pack, for instance, falsely claimed via Twitter on Tuesday afternoon that Becky Gerritson of the Wetumpka Tea Party just outside Montgomery was a “Never Trumper.” Gerritson’s Wetumpka Tea Party is the biggest and most active Tea Party in the state of Alabama, and it was targeted by former President Barack Obama’s IRS. Now she’s being targeted by McConnell and Strange for supporting Moore after she called out Senate Leadership Fund for deceptively editing videos from Moore speaking at a candidate forum she hosted before the first round of voting.
— Chris Pack (@ChrisPack716) September 19, 2017
For evidence for his baseless charge that Gerritson was a Never Trumper, Pack Tweeted an article from the summer of 2015 in which Gerritson laid out how she was supporting Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in the presidential election.
“I appreciate how he loves this country and he loves what it stands for and he understands the greatness of America,” Gerritson said in the Montgomery Advertiser article in August 2015 about Cruz. “Our leadership now does not see America as a great country, they want to change our country to something that our founders did not have in mind and so I am happy to be supporting him.”
“I’ve told his campaign that I am available to speak for him if I need to, or if there is an event that he can’t be at, I would stand in for him,” she added. “I will be happy share any information that I can.”
“Our Tea Party is made up of a lot of different people that have different ideas and I would say Ted Cruz is probably the favorite, but we have members who like other candidates, so we haven’t endorsed any candidate,” she also said.
In that article that Pack cited, there was nothing about “Never Trump.” In fact, in August 2015, the Never Trump movement did not even exist. It was not until later that it came into being. But just because she supported Cruz in the primaries does not mean she was against Trump.
In fact, during the general election, Gerritson aggressively and publicly defended Trump from Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL). Gerritson had previously challenged Roby in a primary, and Gerritson came up short. But when the Access Hollywood tape of Trump came out in October 2016, Roby threw in with the Never Trump movement by calling for Trump to step down from the GOP nomination with just weeks to go before the general election in which he defeated Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton.
“As disappointed as I’ve been with his antics throughout this campaign, I thought supporting the nominee was the best thing for our country and our party,” Roby said, effectively supporting what was called the “Dump Trump” movement. “Now it is abundantly clear that the best thing for our country and our party is for Trump to step aside and allow a responsible, respectable Republican to lead the ticket.”
In response, Gerritson defended the president—and her campaign’s supporters launched a write-in bid against Roby in the general election. Roby barely made it to re-election, winning just 53 percent of the vote against the Democrat—and nearly lost her seat because of it. But it was Gerritson who strongly defended President Trump.
Gerritson’s response is available in an Oct. 16, 2016, posting on Alabama Today—in which she explicitly calls out Never Trumpers and says she disagrees with them, even though she respects their position—and in it she walks through why she supported the now president of the United States. Gerritson said:
The sudden ‘Dump Trump’ movement last week has many people up in arms. Voters where I live, in Alabama’s 2nd district, are FURIOUS that Rep. Martha Roby was one of the first to ‘Dump Trump.’ They are so mad, in fact, that they’ve burned up her phone lines and they have mounted a write-in campaign for her primary challenger. Yes, that would be me, Becky Gerritson. I challenged her in the 2016 Republican primary. I understand the frustration of voters who are fed up with politics as usual. Donald Trump represents hope for those individuals, and they are not about to give up that hope. Candidates like Trump, Ted Cruz, and Ben Carson were welcomed by disenfranchised Republicans because they pledged to break the cycle of the political elites and big-money lobbyists from controlling our politics. I do respect, yet disagree with, those who have been consistent in their opposition to Trump, such as Sens. Ben Sasse and Mike Lee, and even commentator Erick Erickson. But in the recent ‘Dump Trump’ movement, a correlation is apparent … follow the money! The list of prominent names recently dumping Trump could be titled ‘The Chamber’s Bought-and-Paid-for RINOs.’
So, as with even Vice President Mike Pence, her first choice in the primary was Sen. Cruz. When Cruz lost to Trump, again just like Pence, she got on board with Trump. Pack’s attack on Gerritson is an attack against the vice president and everyone else who supported President Trump in the general election after supporting Cruz in the primary.
Pack has not responded to a request for comment on this, and has provided no evidence for his baseless charge.
But, even those close to Strange now know that he is likely going to lose. One person who is friends with Strange and wants Moore to lose—and once worked for Strange years ago in a previous capacity—told Breitbart News on Tuesday night, “All these people are doing is flushing their money down the toilet. I love Luther, and hate Moore, but Moore is going to win. There is nothing they can do about it.”