Less than two weeks ago Senate Republicans – from leader McConnell and NRSC Chair Gardner down to rank and file members Rand Paul and Mike Lee – welcomed Roy Moore to the GOP with open arms. They held a high dollar fundraiser for him, which Senator Cornyn personally attended. They entered into a joint fundraising agreement with his campaign. And they hosted him at the weekly caucus lunch because for the GOP, nothing matters more than securing votes to cut taxes for the rich.
“Republicans own Roy Moore, his toxic beliefs, and his history of preying on underage women. Voters are going to hold the GOP accountable for propping up such a dangerous individual; this man should be serving in prison, not in the Senate,” said Shripal Shah, Vice President of American Bridge
Politico Pro: Moore and D.C. GOP embrace each other
By Daniel Strauss, 10/27/2017
Roy Moore wasn’t Washington Republicans’ first choice in the Alabama Senate race. But he was Alabama Republicans’ choice, and now Washington is getting on board.
Moore has spoken with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and NRSC Chairman Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) since the primary, when he criticized them and bested their choice, appointed Sen. Luther Strange. Alabama’s senior senator, Richard Shelby, has also pledged his support, while Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn chimed in with an endorsement on Wednesday. And Moore’s campaign is preparing to raise money in concert with the RNC and NRSC ahead of the Dec. 12 special election.
Moore still makes clear that he plans to be a senator in the mold of Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) or Mike Lee (R-Utah) — three other outsiders who beat establishment candidates in primaries to join the Senate. But between now and then, there is a special election to be won, and Moore and Senate Republicans are rowing in the same direction.
“I think he’s going to be a social warrior for his principles and his values,” veteran Alabama Republican strategist David Ferguson said of Moore. “I think on a personal basis, he’ll be able to get along with anybody.”
It’s a shift from the primary, when Moore blasted McConnell and his Senate Leadership Fund super PAC and called the NRSC “not ethical at all” — and when some Washington Republicans shuddered at Moore’s history of inflammatory rhetoric and beliefs about gays and Muslims.
But some polls show Democratic special election nominee Doug Jones within single digits against Moore, necessitating a strong campaign effort. And Moore’s campaign is also thinking about what kind of impact he’ll be able to make in the Senate after the election.
“We’re reaching out to a lot of folks. Obviously, we feel he’s going to be the senator and he needs to be working with those guys sooner than later,” said Bill Armistead, Moore’s campaign chairman. “We feel like you’ve got to reach beyond your closest friends in the Senate to work. … There’s 51 other senators that we want to have a good relationship with on the Republican side.”
Moore still appears to have the strongest relationships with other anti-establishment Republicans. Paul and Lee are among the hosts listed for a high-profile fundraiser in Washington next week, along with former Sen. Jim DeMint, Senate Conservatives President Ken Cuccinelli, and Faith and Freedom Coalition founder Ralph Reed.
But Moore’s campaign has continued to reach out to other senators, including Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), over the past few weeks and expects some to attend the upcoming fundraiser. And Shelby, a pillar of old-line Republicans who became a close ally of Strange, is among those now firmly in Moore’s camp, too.
“I’m going to support the ticket. I’m a Republican,” Shelby said in an interview. “He’s the ticket. And I’ll help him all I can.”
Moore is also set for a big boost from the White House, which also backed Strange in the primary. President Donald Trump, who threw his support behind Moore when he won the nomination, has said publicly that he expects to sit down with Moore soon. And Armistead said Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have committed to come down to Alabama in support of Moore.
“We’re working with the president and the vice president and a number of senators that have shown an interest in coming down,” Armistead said.