Mitch McConnell is going on the offensive in an attempt to stop what he sees as a far-right attack in Alabama against him. Rep. Mo Brooks and former Supreme Justice Roy Moore are painting McConnell as a “despised symbol of the establishment” and that’s what’s being used against him.
McConnell, however, isn’t taking it lying down. His own Super PAC has spent around $8 million in favor of the candidate he’s backing, Republican Sen. Luther Strange. He’s also began to press the White House for more resources to make this happen as well as warning consultants to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, of which McConnell essentially controls, that they’ll be cut off from any future work should they assist Strange’s opponents.
As written by Alex Isenstadt for Politico:
And in a highly unusual step, one of McConnell’s top political lieutenants has begun quietly advising a long-shot Republican primary candidate running for Brooks’ House seat. The move is designed to get in the congressman’s head and dissuade him from emptying his campaign war chest in the race for Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ old Senate seat.
It’s a massive undertaking by McConnell and his allies on behalf of Strange, who was appointed a mere six months ago to fill the seat until a special election. In part, McConnell’s urgency reflects his long-standing promise to protect besieged Republican incumbents in primaries. But it also underscores his struggles managing his narrow Senate majority, which were punctuated by the collapse of Obamacare repeal legislation last week after three Republicans broke ranks.
This past week, Brooks, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said he would not vote for McConnell as majority leader and called for him to step down after the failure of the health care bill.
Moore, who rose to national fame after he refused to obey a federal order to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from an Alabama judicial building, made his feelings clear about the leader in a lengthy fundraising appeal with the subject line, “You & Me vs Mitch McConnell.”
“If Mitch McConnell is accusing me of being a ‘conservative rebel’ who won’t march in lockstep behind his Big Government, big-spending agenda,” Moore wrote, “then I plead guilty as charged!”
“I don’t have — nor want — the backing of Mitch McConnell and his cronies in Washington,” Moore added.
As he corralled Obamacare repeal votes last week, McConnell said he was all in for Strange. “As I would be with any Republican senator. I think he’s done an outstanding job.”
McConnell will put his formidable fundraising operation to work this week. On Tuesday evening, he’s slated to co-host a Capitol Hill reception and dinner benefiting Strange. Attendees are being asked to give up to $10,000, according to an invitation.
Much of the Republican leader’s effort in the race is being overseen by the pro-McConnell Senate Leadership Fund. In April, the super PAC held an event in Birmingham, Alabama, to outline its plans to defend Strange, who made an appearance for part of the gathering. Also present was former George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove, who knows Strange, a former state attorney general, from his past work on Alabama judicial races.