AL-02 candidates boast conservative bona fides in Elmore County forum
WETUMPKA — All of the Republicans running to replace Rep. Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) as the representative in Congress for Alabama’s Second Congressional District gathered alongside several dozen voters in Wetumpka on Tuesday night for a forum held by the Elmore County Republican Party.
New polling obtained by Alabama Daily News has Jeff Coleman, the businessman from Dothan, taking the lead of the field that includes former Alabama AG Troy King, Prattville attorney Jessica Taylor and former State Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise).
With less than 50 days to go until the election, things are starting to heat up in the race to replace the retiring Roby.
The Second Congressional District’s two biggest sectors are agriculture and the military — as Jessica Taylor quipped “peanuts and propellors.” The district houses both Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery and Fort Rucker in the Wiregrass region. According to the USDA in 2012 the district has 12,871 farm operators that manage nearly 2.4 million acres of land.
As such, every candidate stressed their support for the military – Barry Moore is the only veteran running – and for the district’s farmers. They all agreed they would seek to sit on the House Agriculture and House Armed Services committees if they win the election.
Predictably, each candidate also expressed strong support for President Donald Trump and revulsion to the idea of him being impeached. Trump enjoys huge favorability ratings among Republicans in Alabama, and Roby’s current district has a strong Republican lean.
Coleman returned to the themes that are familiar to many voters in the Second Congressional District from his ads that have frequented the airwaves from Prattville all the way down to Dothan. He maintains he is a businessman who “works for a living just like you.”
Jessica Taylor emphasized her opposition to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), saying she wants to “go toe to toe” against the socialist ideas that “AOC” promotes.
Troy King, whose key bits of messaging so far have been disgust with Washington and familiarity with the Second Congressional District, said he was “fed up with what’s going on in Washington.” He added that he comes from a place where people “stand for the flag and kneel for God.” He told the audience that his kids asked him to run after they heard him complain so much about the current state of politics.
Barry Moore emphasized his conservative voting credentials in the house and his ardent support for President Trump. He also reminded the audience of his claim to be the first elected official in America to endorse Trump in 2015.
In responding to a question about reducing the deficits, each candidate sought to prove their fiscal conservative bona fides, but King got the most specific. The former Alabama AG suggested that the federal government should eliminate the Department of Education.
“I’m empty nested, I’m ready to go to work for you … I’ve had a 30-year business career and I’m ready to serve,” said Coleman in his closing.
“I was not born into a trust fund, I was born into a trailer park. I know the value of hard work,” Taylor began her closing statement. The comment is almost certainly an implicit critique of Jeff Coleman, who had spoken just previously. Coleman was born into the family that controls Coleman Worldwide Moving, a successful company that has been around for 115 years.
Taylor also stressed the need she sees to convert more young people to the Republican Party. She believes America’s young people are being “brainwashed,” and cited statistics she finds troubling that say the majority of young Americans have a favorable view of socialism.
“Anyone can tell you they are pro-life and pro-gun. I’m here to tell you I have walked-the-walk,” Troy King said, zeroing in on two issues that most Alabama Republicans hold dear.
Moore, closing out the night, said he had gotten involved in politics “after Barack Obama said America was no longer a Christian nation.” That led to Moore running for the statehouse in 2010.
Moore then claimed that Trump’s team asked him to run after he stood with Trump in 2015.
“How could I tell him no?” he asked.
The Alabama Republican primary will be held on March 3.
Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.