The super PAC affiliated with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Tuesday opened a two-front war in Alabama, expanding its multi-million advertising campaign against Rep. Mo Brooks to encompass conservative folk hero Roy Moore.
Senate Leadership Fund backs appointed GOP Sen. Luther Strange in the Aug. 15 special Senate election, and with two weeks to go in the race is investing more than $435,000 on a new attack ad to take out Moore, the former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. The spot is running statewide except in the Huntsville media market, where the group will continue to run ads hitting Brooks, whose Fifth Congressional district encompasses Northern Alabama.
The super PAC is spending an additional $100,000 to run a radio version of the Moore attack ads.
"Roy Moore; there's so much more," the spot's voiceover says, as the ad opens. "Despite being one of the highest paid judges in the nation, raking in more than $170,000 a year, Roy Moore, wanted more. So, Roy and his wife took over $1 million from a charity they ran, paying themselves $1 million and spending even more on travel, including a private jet."
Strange was appointed to the Senate to succeed Jeff Sessions, who resigned to become President Trump's attorney general. But to earn the right to complete Sessions' full term, the senator needs to prevail in the special election. The top two finishers in the Aug. 15 special GOP Senate primary will advance to a Sept. 26 runoff if the winner doesn't garner 50 percent. The victor of that contest is considered a shoo-in in the Dec. 12 special general.
In digital advertising, Moore has gone after Strange by accusing him of being McConnell's tool. The approach could be effective. An anti-establishment streak is prevalent in GOP politics in Alabama; Republicans there love Sessions and are among the most ardently pro-Trump in the nation.
"My opponent is receiving 'money by the barrelful' from Mitch McConnell," Moore wrote, referring to Strange, in a recent email fundraising appeal.
Brooks has joined Moore in bashing McConnell. Senate Leadership Fund, in turn, has accused the congressman of being insufficiently supportive of Trump, which could matter in this contest. Brooks, who endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas in the Republican presidential primary last year and was slow to embrace Trump in the general election, has responded with ads of his own charging that Strange is the president's real opponent in the Senate.