Former Democratic Congressman Bobby Bright has been laying low since losing his congressional seat to Republican Rep. Martha Roby three years ago, but he’s not ready to be done with politics just yet. According to a statement Bright gave to the Alabama News Network, he’s now considering running for the Alabama Senate — this time as a Republican.
“If I did this, my primary concerns are to bring good paying jobs to Alabama, as I did in Montgomery,” Bright said referencing his time as Montgomery mayor. “It’s also important to spend people’s tax payer money as if it were my own and cut out wasteful spending.”
State Senator Bryan Taylor, R-Prattville, currently holds the seat Bright is eyeing. Taylor announced in late October that he will not be seeking re-election. Two other Republicans have already announced they are running to succeed him (Harris Garner and Suzelle Josey), but Bright would certainly shake the race up because of his high name recognition.
Bright was first elected Mayor of Montgomery in 1999 and subsequently re-elected in 2003. His Wikipedia page touts his administration’s revitalization of the city’s downtown and riverfront areas — including the Renaissance Montgomery complex and Riverwalk Stadium. He also paints himself as a budget hawk while overseeing the city’s finances.
But since municipal elections are non-partisan, Bright’s 2008 congressional campaign was the first year he had to put a letter beside his name. He chose a “D” and rode the Obama wave into office.
Bright’s record in Congress was one of the most conservative among Democrats — but that’s obviously not saying much. He voted against ObamaCare, which is the only reason he’s able to even consider running as a Republican at this point. But he did have some bad votes on other bills, including the Obama Administration’s much-maligned Cash for Clunkers program. He also voted in favor of the big-spending Fiscal Year 2009 Omnibus bill that was pushed through by Democrats and only garnered a handful of moderate Republican votes.
But without question, the vote Bright wishes he could have back more than any other is the one he cast for Nancy Pelosi to be Speaker of the House.
When Roby challenged Bright in 2010, he promised he would not vote for Pelosi again if re-elected, but the damage had already been done.
The National Republican Congressional Committee pummeled Bright with the below ad during the 2010 campaign.
“Firsts are memorable moments,” the ad says. “First date — first car — first home. And on Bobby Bright’s first day in Congress, he voted for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker.”
But Bright maintains solid relationships with a decent number of folks in the Montgomery-area business community who see him as a pragmatist. And again, his name recognition would certainly give him a head start on the competition.
But can a man who voted for Nancy Pelosi to be Speaker of the United States House of Representatives get elected to the Alabama legislature as a Republican? That’s a tall order.
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