Roby wins Alabama GOP runoff, overcoming blowback from Trump criticism

Roby wins Alabama GOP runoff, overcoming blowback from Trump criticism
© Greg Nash

Rep. Martha RobyMartha Dubina RobyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition - Restrictive state abortion laws ignite fiery 2020 debate Thirty-four GOP members buck Trump on disaster bill Ocasio-Cortez: 'I was stopped because it was assumed I was an intern' MORE is projected to win Alabama’s GOP primary runoff in the state’s 2nd District, overcoming the blowback from her past criticism of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: 'I will not let Iran have nuclear weapons' Rocket attack hits Baghdad's Green Zone amid escalating tensions: reports Buttigieg on Trump tweets: 'I don't care' MORE during the 2016 election after earning his endorsement.

Roby defeated former Rep. Bobby Bright, a Democrat-turned Republican whom she unseated in 2010. The Associated Press called the race about 9:30 p.m. ET. With all precincts reporting by 10:30 p.m., Roby led Bright by 68-32 percent.

Roby was forced into the runoff with Bright after failing to clinch the 50 percent needed in the June GOP primary.

The four-term congresswoman has continued to face Republican backlash since declaring in 2016 she wouldn’t vote for Trump after the “Access Hollywood” tape scandal where he was heard bragging about kissing and groping women without consent.

But Roby went into Tuesday’s runoff favored to win especially after Trump endorsed her last month and key Washington allies ran ads on her behalf. She also heavily outraised and outspent Bright.

Roby has sought to come back from her Trump criticism as a fervent supporter of the president’s agenda, voting with him 96.5 percent of the time, according to a FiveThirtyEight analysis.

Outside groups also spent on behalf of Roby to boost her ahead of the runoff. The influential business-friendly U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent nearly $200,000 on ads that in part criticized Bright for his past vote for House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiPelosi receives John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award Dems walk Trump trade tightrope Tlaib calls on Amash to join impeachment resolution MORE (D-Calif.) as Speaker. However, Bright defended it as a "procedural" vote.

And Winning For Women, a GOP group that backs female candidates who support free-market policies and national security, started running five-figure digital ads for Roby back in April, focusing on her conservative record.

Roby’s win delivers Trump some validation after the president previously backed candidates in Alabama who went on to lose their races.

In last year’s special Senate election, Trump endorsed Sen. Luther StrangeLuther Johnson StrangeDon't import prescription drugs Roy Moore 'seriously considering' another Senate bid GOP leaders dead set against Roy Moore in Alabama MORE (R-Ala.), who lost the GOP nomination to former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreRoy Moore wants judge who ruled against him removed from case The Hill's Morning Report - Lawmakers split over Mueller findings: 'case closed' vs. 'cover-up' Roy Moore 'seriously considering' another Senate bid MORE.

Trump backed Moore in the general election, but the former judge lost to now-Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) in the deep-red state after allegations surfaced that Moore had pursued romantic and sexual relationships with women decades his junior.

Roby will go on to face Democrat Tabitha Isner, a business analyst and first-time candidate, in November. But Roby is expected to easily win since Trump won her district by more than 30 points.