By Jim EllisJuly 19, 2018 — Alabama voters went to the polls Tuesday to settle run-off elections, and the only congressional race on the ballot featured a Republican contest in the state’s southeastern 2nd District.
Rep. Martha Roby (R-Montgomery), who fared poorly in the June 5th GOP primary in scoring only 39 percent of the vote against four opponents – a clear danger sign for any incumbent – rebounded to post a 68-32 percent victory over former one-term Rep. Bobby Bright, the man Roby unseated back in 2010. At the time, Bright served as a Democrat. He changed parties and entered the Republican primary to challenge Rep. Roby and forced a political re-match eight years after the original contest.
The 2nd District is comprised of 14 southeastern Alabama counties and part of Montgomery County. The largest communities are the cities of Montgomery (part), Dothan, and Enterprise. Roby carried all 15 local entities within a turnout of just over 71,000 voters. The congresswoman spent over $1.5 million, after obtaining more than $1 million in just the 2nd quarter. Her fundraising totals $2.2 million since the beginning of the campaign cycle.
In contrast, Bright raised just $406,000 through the June 27 pre-election report, and almost $309,000 of that total came in the form of a candidate loan.
Roby is a former Montgomery City Council member who decided to challenge then-Rep. Bright in the 2010 election. She defeated him that year, 51-49 percent, in the Republican wave election. Two years later, she scored 64 percent in her first re-election campaign, followed by a 67 percent win in 2014. Her victory margin dropped to 49-40 percent in 2016, largely because she came out against then-candidate Donald Trump after the Access Hollywood videotape became public.
In the run-off election, however, she and President Trump put aside their differences and he endorsed her, stating that Rep. Roby had voted for the Trump Agenda, and that Bobby Bright backed Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House in his lone congressional term. Bright responded rather clumsily to the Pelosi attack, saying she (Rep. Pelosi) was “less toxic” in those days.
Roby now faces business analyst Tabitha Isner (D) in the general election. It appears that yesterday’s vote awarded the congresswoman another term, however, as the general does not appear particularly competitive. While Isner won the Democratic Party nomination outright back in the June 5 primary, she has only raised $240,000 for her entire political effort according to the latest June 30th FEC filing, and reported just $87,434 cash-on-hand at that time.
Next week, Georgia voters go to the polls to decide their run-off elections, which will feature a Republican run-off for governor, and Democratic congressional challenges in Atlanta suburban Districts 6 and 7.
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp are involved in a tight campaign for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. Because of controversy now surrounding Cagle, it appears that Kemp may have the late momentum heading into next Tuesday’s election. The winner will oppose former state House Minority Leader Stacey Evers in November for the right to succeed term-limited Gov. Nathan Deal (R).
In the 6th Congressional, businessman Kevin Abel and gun control activist Lucy McBath battle for the right to challenge freshman Rep. Karen Handel (R-Roswell) in November. Northeast of Atlanta, former state Senate Budget Committee director Carolyn Bourdeaux and learning center chain business CEO David Kim are opposing each other. In the latter contest, the winner advances to challenge four-term Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Lawrenceville). Both Republican incumbents will begin the general election in the favorite’s position.