Republican U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks gave onlookers a window into his election autopsy via text after falling short in the Tuesday primary for Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Senate seat.
Brooks earned a little under 20 percent in the special primary, which put him in third place behind former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore and sitting Sen. Luther Strange, who will face off in a Sept. 26 runoff election ahead of the Dec. 12 general.
The House Freedom Caucus member texted journalists, lawmakers and GOP officials Wednesday with claims that his internal poll numbers showed him surging in front of Strange, who was appointed to the seat earlier this year by disgraced former Gov. Robert Bentley.
He said President Donald Trump’s endorsement gave the former Alabama Attorney General a boost, but heading into the weekend before Election Day Strange’s lead had diminished to 2 or 3 points in his and other polls. He credits a robocall featuring a recording of Trump for turning the tide in the final 48 hours.
“Over the weekend we caught back up. Then, on Monday and Tuesday, voters started getting a personal robocall from the President urging them to support LS. You can imagine the impact on a rural or elderly voter to hear PDJT calling! That final phone call caused LS to surge past us,” he wrote.
Of course, Brooks said attack ads against him played a role, but maybe not in the way the Mitch McConnell-backed Senate Leadership Fund hoped.
“Also, the nonstop LS/[Mitch McConnell] attack ads pushed anti-LS voters from me to [Roy Moore]. Hence, the final result. In the 5th Congressional District, we won 42 percent to 29 percent RM to 28 percent LS,” he added.
McConnell’s political committee had spent more than $3.5 million on the race by the end of July, with much of that money being poured into ads attacking Brooks for not being supportive enough of Trump, who enjoys an 85 percent approval rating among Yellowhammer State Republicans.
“An interesting note,” Brooks wrote in closing. “68% of Alabama GOP Primary voters rejected PDJT’s endorsement and voted against LS. Not yet sure what the national implications of that might be but we will find out.”
Whis his Senate hopes dashed, Brooks announced that he will seek a fifth term in CD 5 next year. He has so far declined to endorse Moore or Strange in the Senate race.