Alabama: GOP Leaders Showing Candidate the Love

Posted June 23, 2008 at 6:28pm

With just weeks to go before the July 15 primary runoff, Republican House leaders are clearly signaling who their favorite candidate is in the race to replace retiring Rep. Terry Everett (R) in the southeast Alabama 2nd district.

On Wednesday, most of the top GOP brass, including House Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio) and National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Cole (Okla.), will hold a $500-per-head fundraiser for state Rep. Jay Love (R) in Washington, D.C.

Love’s primary runoff against state Sen. Harri Anne Smith (R) was required because no candidate was able to secure more than 50 percent of the vote in June’s primary.

The winner of the runoff will take on Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright (D), whom Democrats are touting as one of this cycle’s top recruits.

Smith, the second-place finisher in the June primary, has earned the endorsement of the powerful anti-tax group the Club for Growth. With the Republican establishment now openly backing Love, the race has once again put Republican party leaders and the Club for Growth on opposite sides of a GOP primary contest.

A spokesman for the NRCC, which has a stated policy of not getting involved in primaries, said Monday that the fundraiser is an event being put on by individual House Members and that the committee still remains neutral in the race.

However, spokesman Ken Spain did say that Love “is an incredibly strong candidate whose record of cutting taxes and creating jobs make him an excellent fit for the district.”