Barber Makes AL-2 GOP Runoff

Tea Party candidate Rick Barber was outspent 7-to-1 by the GOP establishment’s choice Martha Roby in Alabama’s 2nd District Republican primary but was able to force the Montgomery councilwoman to a runoff.

Roby got 48 percent in Tuesday’s primary — less than the majority needed to avoid a July 13 runoff — while Barber got 28 percent and state school board member Stephanie Bell got 21 percent.

“This experience has been thrilling, overwhelming, exhilarating, but, most of all, humbling,” Barber said in a statement. “When I entered this race, nearly all of the pundits were saying that I had no chance. To force a runoff with an opponent who had national endorsements behind her is just amazing.”

Barber noted that Roby, backed by the National Republican Congressional Committee, had spent more than $500,000 on her campaign.

“Throughout the campaign, we’ve been broke . . . We’re not intimidated by Martha’s money,” said Barber, a former Marine.

“Being forced into a runoff won’t help Roby’s image on the campaign trail,” Congressional Quarterly commented, adding that Roby “had been a highly touted candidate.”

Now the Republicans have a six-week campaign for the runoff, with the winner to face “Blue Dog” Democrat Rep. Bobby Bright in November.

Elsewhere in the Alabama primary, Rep. Artur Davis lost his bid to become the state’s first black governor, losing the Democratic primary to agriculture commissioner Ron Sparks. In the GOP gubernatorial primary, Bradley Byrne advanced to the runoff, but a recount may be needed to determine whether Byrnes’ runoff opponent is Robert Bentley or Tim James.

In the 5th District GOP primary, party-switching Rep. Parker Griffith was defeated by Madison County commissioner Mo Brooks. Former Navy pilot Les Phillip placed third.

Dale Peterson, whose get-tough ad made him an Internet hero, finished third in the GOP primary for agriculture commissioner.

State attorney general Troy King lost the GOP primary to challenger Luther Strange.

(Cross-posted at The Other McCain.)

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