Like Lucy van Pelt of Peanuts comic strip fame repeatedly pulling the football away from Charlie Brown as he lines up to kick it, Rep. Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) once again has shown you can’t beat her in a Republican primary.
Similar to when she defeated “Gather Your Armies” Rick Barber in the 2010 GOP primary and “Born Free American Woman” Becky Gerritson in the 2016 GOP primary, Roby defeated former Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright for a second time on Tuesday night, this time by a whopping 36 points.
Heading into yesterday, many national media reporters were sent into Alabama’s second congressional district looking at the possibility that Roby might have to answer to a revolt for not sticking with then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on the infamous Billy Bush weekend during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Aside from it being hard to see how Bright, also a former Democratic congressman that once cast a vote for Nancy Pelosi to be Speaker of the House, could rally a large enough number within the pro-Trump base to unseat Roby, thinking such an outcome were a possibility ignored the local politics.
One of Roby’s strengths throughout her tenure as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives has been her ability to build relationships from Houston County in the very southeastern corner of Alabama’s second congressional district to the Autauga County in the very northwestern corner.
Beyond Montgomery where Roby served as a city councilwoman, she’s become known throughout her district. Be it Greenville in Butler County, Ozark in Dale County or Slocomb in Geneva County, she’s built a stout a network of support.
To beat her, as the past has shown, it would take more than gimmicky tactics. As an opponent, Bright was never able to demonstrate to one of the most Republican-voting parts of Alabama why he was a viable alternative other than he as a former Democrat would be a better ally to Trump.
(Trump ultimately endorsed Roby, which severely crippled the line of attack.)
Many in the media looked to Alabama anyway. Could this be another show of how dangerous it is for Republicans to attack President Donald Trump, much like what happened in South Carolina’s first congressional district to Rep. Mark Sanford?
It was not. And, deservedly, the narrative that Republican voters in Alabama are too mind-numb to make decisions based on something beyond a blind allegiance to the president died.
Unfortunately, Tuesday’s outcome may have given rise to a new equally intellectually challenged notion: “Rise up, Republicans! You can criticize Donald Trump, and it won’t cost you an election.”
These simplistic contrived notions tell us one or both of two things about those reporting on Republican politics from afar: a) They’re too lazy to look beyond the daily blow-by-blow inside the D.C. Beltway bubble and therefore have a very shallow understanding of national politics, or b) They think so lowly of voters in certain parts of the country that they’re too shallow to look beyond the national headlines and consider more than the broad narratives on laid out on Fox News or talk radio.
The how and why behind Roby’s remarkable victory had nothing to do with Donald Trump. If Hillary Clinton had been president, she probably would have won. If Mitt Romney had been president, she also probably would have won. Who was in the White House had little to do with politics on the ground in Alabama’s second congressional district.
The only reason Roby was in a runoff was that she was one of five candidates competing in a crowded Republican primary field. The reason she won Tuesday’s runoff and will likely defeat Democratic congressional nominee Tabitha Isner in November’s general election is that the people in her congressional district like the job she has done as a member of Congress.
But why let the facts interfere with an opportunity to strike some symbolic blow against Trump’s supporters, or Trump himself?
@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and is the editor of Breitbart TV.