As Becky Gerritson mulls Tea Party primary challenge, Rep. Martha Roby responds to attacks

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It’s no secret that Wetumpka Tea Party leader Becky Gerritson is contemplating a primary challenge to Republican Congresswoman Martha Roby, but things seem to be heating up in the GOP primary for Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District as Gerritson and Roby exchanged public barbs earlier this week.

“Rep. Martha Roby is totally out of touch with her constituents,” Gerritson told AL.com on Thursday. “District 2 is a very conservative district yet her lifetime average score from Heritage Action is a measly 51 percent. That is unacceptable. She is distancing herself from her constituents more and more.”

Gerritson’s name-drop of the electioneering and advocacy wing of the conservative Washington-based Heritage Foundation augers a possibly long and acrimonious primary process for Roby’s Watercress and Montgomery metro area-based district, which skews Republican by about 2-to-1.

“To me, staying true to conservative principles is more important than any political party. If politicians would start thinking this way then maybe we could move this country in the right direction,” she said to Leada Gore, clearly signaling that the intra-GOP battle could become a conservative purity test, focusing on value issues like abortion and same-sex marriage as well as pro-business credentials.

For Roby’s part, her office issued the following dismissal of Gerritson’s provocations:

“Rep. Roby is a fierce supporter of the 20-week abortion ban, and has fought to make it stronger, not weaker,” spokesperson Todd Stacy said in response to one charge among many by Gerritson. “We’ll deal with the rest of these nonsense talking points if [Gerritson] actually decides to run. Right now, Rep. Roby is working to get results on issues that matter to her constituents: fighting dangerous military cuts, reforming the VA, and stopping President Obama’s overreach on illegal immigration,” Stacy added.

The winner of this contest is all but certain to hold the House seat. A Democrat has not gained more than than 37 percent of the vote there since Blue Dog Democratic Rep. Bobby Bright was defeated by Roby, then a Montgomery City Councilwoman, during the Tea Party wave that prevailed in the 2010 midterms.

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