Rep. Martha Roby of Alabama may have already been on firmer ground than Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, who lost renomination last week, but her chances of following in his footsteps out the door diminished with President Trump’s Friday morning tweet.
Trump’s endorsement of the four-term incumbent was particularly notable given that it was Roby’s disavowal of Trump after the release of the Access Hollywood tape that made her vulnerable to a 2018 primary challenge.
In the final weeks of the 2016 election, a Roby speaking engagement with a local GOP women’s group was pulled and a write-in campaign was launched to encourage protest votes for the tea party leader Roby handily defeated in the primary, Becky Gerritson—who ended up receiving nearly 30,000 votes, pushing Roby’s winning vote share to below 50 percent.
Roby won 39 percent of the June 5 primary vote against four challengers. That forced her into a Bizarro World July 17 runoff, which features an incumbent who didn’t support the president in 2016 being challenged by a former Democratic congressman, Bobby Bright, whom she unseated in 2010 in large part because he voted for Nancy Pelosi for speaker.
— Kyle Trygstad