Super PAC plays up Trump's endorsement of Strange in new ads

Allies of Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.) will highlight President Trump’s endorsement ahead of his special election primary with a new digital ad push on Wednesday.

The Senate Leadership Fund, the de facto super PAC of Senate GOP leadership, is meant to amplify Trump’s Tuesday night backing of Strange in his bid to hold on to the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsMcCabe, Rosenstein spar over Russia probe Rosenstein takes fire from Republicans in heated testimony Rosenstein defends Mueller appointment, role on surveillance warrants MORE. 

Trump is wildly popular among the state’s GOP primary voters, so the endorsement has boosted hopes in Strange’s orbit that the support can secure his spot in the upcoming primary. 

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The short digital ad targeting Alabama Republican primary voters, obtained first by The Hill, displays the tweet featuring Trump’s endorsement along with pictures of both Trump and Strange. 

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“President Trump endorses Luther Strange for Senate. Vote for Luther Strange on Aug. 15,” the narrator says. 

Trump’s endorsement is the fruit of months of labor by top Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote GOP senator to try to reverse requirement that Pentagon remove Confederate names from bases No, ‘blue states’ do not bail out ‘red states’ MORE (R-Ky.), who want a unified front around Strange. 

The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) considers Strange the incumbent, which means any vendor who works with an opponent will be blacklisted; the Republican National Committee has pitched in with $350,000 in spending through the NRSC; and McConnell’s allied super PAC — the Senate Leadership Fund (SLF) — has spent millions on the senator’s behalf. 

If no candidate wins the majority of the vote on Tuesday, as expected, the top two vote-getters will move on to a primary runoff. 

Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore appears to have a strong hold on first place, with public polling showing a tighter race between Strange and Rep. Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson BrooksOvernight Defense: Senate confirms US military’s first African American service chief | Navy to ban display of Confederate flags | GOP lawmakers urge Trump not to cut troops in Germany Republicans urge Trump to reject slashing US troop presence in Germany Conservative lawmakers press Trump to suspend guest worker programs for a year MORE (R-Ala.), with Strange with the edge. 

The most recent public poll from JMC Analytics and Polling shows Moore with 30 percent, followed by Strange at 22 percent and Brooks by 19 percent.

Most of SLF’s messaging has centered on prosecuting Brooks as overly critical of Trump during the GOP primary, a move meant to frame Strange as the best candidate to carry Trump’s message forward.

More recently, the group shifted to attacking Moore ahead of the potential runoff. 

That backing has opened the door for Strange’s opponents, Brooks and Moore, to frame Strange as too close to the establishment.

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