Former Moore campaign manager to challenge GOP rep in Alabama

Former Moore campaign manager to challenge GOP rep in Alabama
© Greg Nash
Rich Hobson, who managed Alabama GOP nominee Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreDoug Jones walks tightrope on Supreme Court nominee Who to watch for in Sacha Baron Cohen's upcoming show GOP lawmaker thinks he was duped by Sacha Baron Cohen MORE's campaign during last month's special Senate election, announced Wednesday that he'll launch a Republican primary challenge to Rep. Martha RobyMartha Dubina RobyElection Countdown: Latest on the 2018 Senate money race | Red-state Dems feeling the heat over Kavanaugh | Dem doubts about Warren | Ocasio-Cortez to visit Capitol Hill | Why Puerto Ricans in Florida could swing Senate race Election Countdown: Calls to abolish ICE test Dem candidates | First round of House GOP 'Young Guns' | How Tester is handling Trump's Montana visit | Dem candidate won't back Schumer as leader | Super PACs ramp up Missouri ad buys Trump invokes Pelosi in endorsing Alabama Republican ahead of runoff MORE (Ala.).
Hobson is fresh off of Moore's losing bid, which ended in a surprise defeat after Moore faced allegations of sexual misconduct involving teenage girls. 
In his announcement speech outside of the state capitol building in Montgomery, Hobson defended Moore from the accusations, calling Moore's loss the "biggest political assassination of our time," according to the Montgomery Advertiser's Brian Lyman, and tied himself to the embattled former judge. 
"I believe in what Judge Moore believes in and I will stand for his values," Hobson added.
Roby joined with the rest of the Alabama congressional delegation to endorse Moore after he won the primary runoff against then-Sen. Luther StrangeLuther Johnson StrangeCrowley surprise tops huge night for left Races to watch in Tuesday’s primaries Loyalty to Donald Trump is new normal for the Republican Party MORE (R-Ala.). But she did not respond to questions from reporters about whether she'd continue to support Moore in light of the allegations.
In 2016, Roby criticized President TrumpDonald John TrumpSasse: Trump shouldn't dignify Putin with Helsinki summit Top LGBT group projects message onto Presidential Palace in Helsinki ahead of Trump-Putin summit Hillary Clinton to Trump ahead of Putin summit: 'Do you know which team you play for?' MORE after the release of the 2005 "Access Hollywood" tape, where Trump could be heard bragging about groping women. Roby announced after the video's release that she would not vote for Trump, and called on him to step aside. 
Both of those reactions could hurt Roby's standing among ardent Moore and Trump supporters. While Roby won her 2016 reelection bid, the 8 point margin was far closer than expected, an outcome many attributed to backlash from Trump supporters.
But knocking off Roby won't be easy — she's held the seat since the 2010 election, and another primary challenge from state Rep. Barry Moore (R) could split the anti-Roby vote. 
Roby represents a large swath of the state, including part of Montgomery in the central part of the state, as well as areas all the way down to the state's southeast border. Moore's campaign held each of its final two events in Roby's district as it looked to shore up support among its core group of supporters. 
In a statement responding to the challenge, Roby spokeswoman Torrie Matous pointed to the seat's presence on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's target list as a reason why Republicans need a proven candidate. 
“In the 2010 election, Martha Roby beat Democrat Bobby Bright to turn AL-02 red again. With Democrats in Alabama more energized than ever before and [Rep.] Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiTop Democrats request meeting with intel chief over sharing of classified info Overnight Defense: Fears rise over Trump-Putin summit | McCain presses Trump to hold Putin 'accountable' for hacking | Pentagon does damage control after NATO meet 'Our Cartoon President' takes on Mueller probe, NATO and Melania in second season MORE [D-Calif.] targeting our district, it is critical to nominate a responsible conservative who can keep this vital seat in Republicans' hands," Matous said.  
"From her work on behalf of our veterans and the military — including her recent efforts to help bring the F-35 mission to Montgomery — to her support of Alabama’s farmers, Martha Roby is the clear conservative choice for this seat.”