Establishment Republicans and White House staffers fear grassroots challenger Judge Roy Moore’s victory in Tuesday’s Alabama U.S. Senate runoff election “could trigger a wave of primary challenges against incumbent Republicans,” Alex Isenstadt reports in Politico.
In an effort to stave off Moore’s poll momentum, the establishment has “launched a coordinated, scorched-earth campaign” to defeat him.
The White House and senior Republicans are deeply worried about Sen. Luther Strange’s chances in Tuesday’s GOP runoff here — even after unleashing the full weight of the party machinery to stop his opponent, flame-throwing conservative Roy Moore.
Top administration officials and allies of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have spent days poring over public and private polling that shows Moore consistently leading Strange, though the race has tightened, say those familiar with the numbers.
On his way to Huntsville on Air Force One Friday to campaign for Strange, President Donald Trump was joined by a small team of aides that included Rick Dearborn, a veteran of Alabama politics, and Bill Stepien, the White House political director. Both aides, as well as a number of other administration officials, have privately expressed apprehension about the state of the race. Stepien brought a sheaf of the latest polling data.
With Strange on the ropes and time running out, the party has launched a coordinated, scorched-earth campaign to take down Moore. The sheer breadth of the anti-Moore campaign has stunned Alabama’s political class: It includes non-stop TV ads, a meticulously-crafted get-out-the-vote effort, and detailed, oppo-research-filled debate prep sessions for Strange.
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