He’s only been in office a few short months and already Sen. Luther Strange is having to do something most sitting senators don’t have to worry about but once every six years — campaign to keep his seat.
Facing a bevy of primary challengers — former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court Roy Moore; State Rep. Ed Henry; President of the Christian Coalition of Alabama Dr. Randy Brinson; Birmingham businessman Dom Gentile — Strange has his work cut out for him preparing for the August 15 GOP primary.
Which is precisely why a new joint-fundraising effort has been launched on his behalf. Seeking to boost the senator’s chance of winning the primary and to clear a path for a December special election victory, former Republican National Committee CFO Benjamin Ottenhoff filed the paperwork on Tuesday creating the Strange Victory Committee to fundraise on behalf of Strange for Senate and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC).
The move should come as no surprise as NRSC communications director Katie Martin told Politico last month, “We have made it very clear from the beginning that Sen. Luther Strange would be treated as an incumbent. It has also been a clear policy that we will not use vendors who work against our incumbents.”
Martin said Strange is considered an incumbent by the NRSC and will be protected like one.
Fundraising aside, Strange may already have a leg-up on his opponents. According to his campaign’s latest filing with the Federal Election Commission he already has $763,612 cash-on-hand.
Last month Gov. Kay Ivey moved the date of the special election to 2017 from 2018, giving little time for his opponents to catch up on the fundraising front. Prior to that, the special election was set to coincide with the 2018 regular election cycle as set by former-Gov. Robert Bentley.
“I promised to steady our ship of state. This means following the law, which clearly states the people should vote for a replacement U.S. Senator as soon as possible,” Ivey said in a statement. “The new US Senate special election dates this year are a victory for the rule of law.”
In February, Bentley appointed Strange to the Senate seat to replace Jeff Sessions. The GOP primary will be his first test of approval to see if Alabamians support Bentley’s decision.