Del Marsh blames ‘Washington involvement’ for GOP’s 2017 U.S. Senate loss, predicts Moore defeat in 2020
Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh’s (R-Anniston) issues with the Washington political operatives going back to the lead up to the 2017 U.S. Senate special election are well documented.
In May 2017, Marsh told the Montgomery Advertiser’s Brian Lyman if he chose to seek the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in 2017, he would face some serious headwinds.
“I’ve been told pretty straightforward a lot of money will be spent by Washington to ensure Luther Strange will stay as Gov. [Robert] Bentley’s picked senator,” Marsh said in the Advertiser interview.
During Friday’s broadcast of Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal,” Marsh reminded viewers of those circumstances. But he said that he thought those same Washington, D.C.-based entities had learned a lesson from Strange’s defeat by Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who would give Republicans their first significant statewide election loss in a decade in losing to Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook).
The Anniston Republican predicted the GOP would regain the seat.
“I believe that we will have a Republican U.S. Senator after that election,” he said. “We may not even know all the names that are in it at this point. But I am very confident Republicans will bring back that seat.”
He also noted the difficulties for Jones winning again as a Democrat statewide given Republican dominance in all the other statewide elected offices. He blamed Republicans stumbling “over themselves” in the 2017 contest for the loss of the seat, which he tied to “Washington involvement.”
“Washington involvement at the time did not help the situation,” Marsh explained. “Washington was trying to push a candidate on the Alabama people that they were not comfortable with. At the end of the day, they saw the facts. You can spend a lot of money, but if the people of this state are not comfortable enough with a candidate, they’re not going to support that candidate. That’s what happened. And you ended with a situation in which the Democrats had an opportunity, and they took advantage of that opportunity.”
He does not expect a repeat in 2020.
“I had been up to Washington and talked to the powers that be there and had encouraged them to stay out of the race,” he added. “Just simply let the people of Alabama deal with their choice for an Alabama U.S. Senator and things would work out. They chose to take a different approach on that. I think they realize now that was a mistake. And I think by now, I do believe that by and large, they will stay out of the race.”
As for Moore, Marsh said he did not think the Moore would get his party’s nomination when Alabama Republicans go to vote on March 3, 2020.
“There again, Roy Moore is going to do what Roy Moore wants to do regardless of what anybody says,” Marsh said. “So you know, whatever happens there, it is fine. However, I will say this – I do not believe, with the numbers I look at, that Roy Moore at the end of the day can get the nomination. I don’t think the issues are the same. The participants are different. I really believe, and I said, unless something really unusual happens, I do not believe Roy Moore will secure the primary or be successful in the primary.”