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 MooreHillicon Valley: Dem blasts groups behind Senate campaign disinformation effort | FCC chief declines to give briefing on location-data sales | Ocasio-Cortez tops lawmakers on social media | Trump officials to ease drone rules Domestic influence campaigns borrow from Russia’s playbook Jones asks federal officials to investigate misinformation campaign tactics in Alabama Senate race 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 RobyOcasio-Cortez: 'I was stopped because it was assumed I was an intern' Insurgency shakes up Democratic establishment Dem House candidate claims Russians tried to hack campaign website 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 StrangeDomestic influence campaigns borrow from Russia’s playbook Overnight Defense: Senate bucks Trump with Yemen war vote, resolution calling crown prince 'responsible' for Khashoggi killing | House briefing on Saudi Arabia fails to move needle | Inhofe casts doubt on Space Force Five things to watch in Mississippi Senate race 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 TrumpSunday shows preview: Shutdown negotiations continue after White House immigration proposal Rove warns Senate GOP: Don't put only focus on base Ann Coulter blasts Trump shutdown compromise: ‘We voted for Trump and got Jeb!’ 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 PelosiSunday shows preview: Shutdown negotiations continue after White House immigration proposal Rove warns Senate GOP: Don't put only focus on base Senate to take up Trump's border-immigration plan next week 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.”