MONTGOMERY, Ala. — As Alabama Sen. Luther Strange tries to beat back a slate of firebrand challengers in the GOP primary, his campaign spending and fundraising is dwarfing that of the competition, according to reports filed in July.
The money has allowed Strange to dominate the airwaves so far. The crowded GOP field in the heated Aug. 15 primary includes House Freedom Caucus member Rep. Mo Brooks and former Chief Justice Roy Moore, who was twice removed from judicial justice duties over his stances for the public display of the Ten Commandments and against gay marriage. Montgomery physician Dr. Randy Brinson and state Sen. Trip Pittman are also among those seeking the GOP nomination
Strange’s campaign reported raising $2.7 million so far in the Senate race, with more than half of it coming in the last three months. Strange has also benefited from high-dollar spending on his behalf by a super political action committee with ties to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The Senate Leadership Fund in May announced it had reserved a $2.6 million television ad buy on behalf of Strange, sending an early message that challengers should prepare for a high-spending campaign.
Brooks has a healthy $1.3 million available heading into the Aug. 15 primary — an amount similar to Strange’s holdings. Much of that was left over from past House races.
Moore’s campaign finance report was not immediately available, but his campaign announced he raised $300,000 in the last three months.
Alabama’s former governor appointed Strange, who was then Alabama’s attorney general, to the Senate after Sessions was confirmed as attorney general.
Strange and the Senate Leadership Fund have launched attacks on Brooks for past criticisms of President Donald Trump and trying to suggest his support for Trump was lukewarm at best in a state where the president remains popular.
Brooks headed Sen. Ted Cruz’s Alabama campaign for president, but said he supported Trump after he “steamrolled” challengers and became the party nominee.
Strange’s challengers are trying to depict his well-financed campaign as a sign of his connection to the Washington establishment. Brooks told voters on the campaign trail that the “swamp” was fighting back in the race.
“This is going to be won by the people of Alabama. Not the swamp dwellers of Washington,” Moore said in a statement.