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President Trump endorses U.S. Rep. Martha Roby in Alabama primary runoff

Roby has faced backlash for her criticism of Trump during 2016 campaign

♦By Rich Shumate, editor

MONTGOMERY (CFP) — With three weeks to go before voters in Alabama’s 2nd District decide a contentious runoff for the U.S. House, President Donald Trump has weighed in with an endorsement of U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, who has faced a backlash for her decision to unendorse Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“Congresswoman Martha Roby of Alabama has been a consistent and reliable vote for our Make America Great Again Agenda,” Trump said in a June 22 tweet. “She is in a Republican Primary run-off against a recent Nancy Pelosi voting Democrat. I fully endorse Martha for Alabama 2nd Congressional District!”

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, R-Alabama

Roby is in the July 17 runoff against Bobby Bright, a former Montgomery mayor who held the seat as a Democrat before losing it to Roby in 2010. He switched to the GOP earlier this year to challenge her.

In the first round of voting, Roby took 39 percent to 28 percent for Bright, beating out three other candidates for the two runoff spots.

The result was seen as a rebuke to Roby by Trump voters, who have been furious over her decision in October 2016 to rescind her endorsement of him after the infamous Access Hollywood tape surfaced in which Trump bragged about sexually accosting women.

At the time, Roby said she would not vote for Trump because his “behavior makes him unacceptable as a candidate for president.”

A month later, almost 30,000 people cast write-in votes against Roby, reducing her vote total to just 49 percent of the vote in a strongly Republican district and virtually ensuring she would face a primary fight in 2018. She has since toned down her criticisms of Trump and has highlighted her support for Trump’s agenda in Congress.

House candidate Bobby Bright, R-Alabama

During his time in the House, Bright, far from being a Nancy Pelosi Democrat, was considered to be one of the most conservative members of the Democratic caucus, opposing legal abortion and restrictions on firearms.

During this campaign, he has also cast himself as a supporter of Trump’s trade policies and his call to “drain the swamp” in Washington. He has also run a TV ad criticizing Roby for “turning her back on President Trump when he needed her the most.”

The 2nd District, which is strongly Republican, takes in much of Montgomery and its northern suburbs, along with the Wiregrass Country in the southeastern corner of the state.

The winner of the runoff will face Democrat Tabitha Isner, a business analyst and pastor’s wife from Montgomery.

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