Roby, Bright head to GOP runoff in Alabama

Roby, Bright head to GOP runoff in Alabama
© Greg Nash

Rep. Martha RobyMartha Dubina RobyOvernight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Pence says Turkey agrees to ceasefire | Senators vow to move forward with Turkey sanctions | Mulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe Here are the lawmakers who aren't seeking reelection in 2020 Pelosi: GOP retirements indicate they'll be in the minority, with Democrat in the White House MORE (R-Ala.) is projected to fall short of the 50-percent threshold needed to win Tuesday's primary in Alabama, forcing her into a runoff with former Rep. Bobby Bright (R).

The Associated Press called the race for both Roby and Bright about 10:35 p.m. EDT.

Roby faced an uncharacteristically tough race after dealing with the blowback from her strong rebuke of President TrumpDonald John TrumpFlorida GOP lawmaker says he's 'thinking' about impeachment Democrats introduce 'THUG Act' to block funding for G-7 at Trump resort Kurdish group PKK pens open letter rebuking Trump's comparison to ISIS MORE in 2016.

Bright, who represented the district from 2009 to 2011 as a Democratic congressman but has since changed parties, is projected to join her as the second-highest vote-getter on Tuesday. Roby defeated Bright in the 2010 general election while he was a Democrat, so he will be looking for revenge. 

But Roby, in turn, will likely seek to turn Bright's Democratic past around on him. Republicans point to the fact that Bright voted for Rep. Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiCummings to lie in state at the Capitol House Republicans 'demand the release of the rules' on impeachment Overnight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union —Dem wants more changes to Pelosi drug pricing bill | Ebola outbreak wanes, but funding lags | Johnson & Johnson recalls batch of baby powder after asbestos traces found MORE (D-Calif.) for Speaker during his time in Congress, a vote that will likely come back to haunt him in the runoff. 

Her opponents fixated on her decision to publicly, and strongly, break with Trump after the infamous "Access Hollywood" tape surfaced in 2016, where he spoke about groping women.

"Donald Trump's behavior makes him unacceptable as a candidate for president, and I won't vote for him," Roby said in an October 2016 statement shortly after the tape's release. Those comments almost cost Roby reelection in 2016 — despite regularly winning with two-thirds of the vote in previous elections, she squeaked by with just 48 percent last election.

Bright defended his switch to the Republican Party during his campaign, pointing to his vote against ObamaCare when he was still in the House. And he's run ads promising to build Trump's border wall, declaring that he voted for Trump in 2016 and blasting those who "turn their backs on our president," seen as an obvious jab at Roby. 

Roby and Bright will square off in a runoff on July 17, with the winner effectively assured victory in November in a deep-Republican district.