Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Rob Riley, son of Alabama's former governor, is pondering a run at Richard Shelby's U.S. Senate seat in 2022, possibly joining Brooks and Britt in GOP field


Rob and Bob Riley

Rob Riley, the son of former Gov. and U.S. Rep. Bob Riley, is considering a 2022 run for Richard Shelby's U.S. Senate seat, according to multiple Alabama-based Web sites -- including one that appears to be a Riley-family mouthpiece.

U.S. Rep Mo Brooks and former Shelby aide Katie Boyd Britt probably are the strongest contenders in the Republican field so far. But Rob Riley, on name recognition alone, likely would be a factor. Reports the Alabama Daily News, which is run by former Bob Riley staffer Todd Stacy:

Enter the Rileys?

By Todd Stacy, Alabama Daily News 

On May 12, Yellowhammer’s Tim Howe tweeted out a fresh rumor: that Rob Riley, Birmingham attorney and son of former Gov. Bob Riley, is a potential candidate for U.S. Senate. It raised eyebrows in Alabama’s political circles mostly because the discussion on this Senate race has revolved around the same names for months. It turns out the rumor has something to it. 

IAP (Inside Alabama Politics) has learned that Rob Riley is seriously considering entering the race to replace Sen. Richard Shelby. Sources say that Rob has been fielding calls from power brokers around the state and in Washington D.C. who believe he would make a formidable candidate in the race. I spoke with Rob, who confirmed that he has had discussions with several people about the Senate race but has not yet made a decision as to whether or not he will enter the race.

His potential candidacy is interesting on a number of levels. His name gives him a leg up in terms of name recognition and, whereas there had been perceptible “Riley fatigue” after his second term ended, the former governor’s stature has aged well in the memories of voters after the mess that followed him. Rob would no doubt seek to occupy the same pragmatic conservative lane that Katie Britt would compete for, potentially splitting that vote. 

I’ll say this having worked for the former governor: no one campaigns tougher than the Rileys. There were many involved in the various campaigns from congress to the governor’s office, but Rob and his sister, Minda, ran the show. They are ultra competitive and relentless in a style of politics that would almost certainly shock the more recent entrants into the business. Rob may ultimately decide not to run, but if he does he will be competitive.

Then, we have this from Jeff Martin, of The Montgomery Independent

If someone had told me a year ago that Mo Brooks might be the next U.S. Senator from Alabama, I would have just laughed. I still have a difficult time explaining to people how he continues getting reelected to Congress. Then again who would have ever thought Tommy Tuberville would defeat Jeff Sessions for the state’s other Senate seat.

    Other candidates running to replace Shelby include Lynda Blanchard, a former U.S. ambassador to Slovenia during the Trump administration, and Katie Boyd Britt, who just resigned as President and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama to run.

    Blanchard, even with her millions, doesn’t stand a chance, having lost out on the Trump endorsement to Brooks, but Britt could be a viable alternative.

    Katie Britt appears to be sharp, capable, reasonable and is no stranger to Washington politics. She has a law degree from Alabama and prior to leading the BCA, she served as Chief of Staff to the man she hopes to replace, Senator Richard Shelby. She is originally from the Wiregrass and married to Wesley Britt, a former offensive tackle who played at Alabama followed by several years in the NFL. The couple resides in Montgomery with their two children.

    Another potential candidate being whispered about in tight political circles is Rob Riley, a Birmingham lawyer and son of former Governor Bob Riley. His entrance in the race would make things that much more entertaining but also more difficult for Britt, as they would likely compete for the same voters.

    Secretary of State John Merrill was just days from announcing his candidacy when he self-destructed a couple of months ago after it was exposed that he had an affair or two. Dothan businessman and former congressional candidate Jeff Coleman also gave it some thought until he couldn’t get anyone to return his phone calls.

    Back to Britt. I expect she will be well financed with the help of big and small business interests alike, not to mention the possibility of a campaign windfall if Shelby were to relinquish some of the millions in campaign contributions he has stashed away.

    I know that most of her votes cast in the Senate would be similar to those of Brooks; she is after all a Republican, but she is much more likely to possess the ability and political savvy to represent Alabama well and not embarrass the state on the national stage.

     I hope Katie Britt can run a campaign on issues that affect all Alabamians, one not riddled with Trump rhetoric. I hope she remains a true alternative to Brooks’ divisiveness. I don’t know if it’s a winning strategy, but it’s the way to earn my vote.

 A Rob Riley candidacy would make things "more entertaining"? That's interesting. I wonder what it means.


Anonymous said...

Has Rob Riley ever accomplished anything on his own? Seems to me he's mostly ridden on "Daddy's" coattails. And Daddy didn't accomplish much as governor, besides making a lot of money for himself.

legalschnauzer said...

Rob has run a law firm, which may or may not be worth a flip. I don't know. Actually, I've seen the kind of work product Riley Jackson turns out, and I was not impressed. Beyond that, I'm not sure what Rob accomplished on his own.

legalschnauzer said...

I seem to recall that Daddy helped Rob get a lucrative contract to do legal work for the Jeffco Sheriff's Office. Not sure what Rob did to earn that.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a weak field to me. I'd say Rob Riley has a legit chance.

legalschnauzer said...

Oh, I think he would have a chance, too. If Tommy Tuberville can get elected, anyone has a chance.

legalschnauzer said...

Not sure Mo Brooks' lunacy will play well on the statewide stage. Katie Britt is unproven, at best. She knows how to read from the GOP hymnal, but I've seen little sign of independent thought. Of course, GOP voters might not want independent thought.

legalschnauzer said...

I'm hearing that Richard Shelby is not a fan of the Rileys, period. If Shelby throws his full weight behind Katie Britt, that could be a difference maker.

Anonymous said...

Other than wanting the job and the perks that go with it, what qualifications does Rob Riley have to serve in the U.S. Senate?

legalschnauzer said...

I'm not sure. In terms of public record or public service, the record seems awfully thin. Can others think of qualifications? I'm pretty much stumped at the moment.

legalschnauzer said...

From a 2010 article about sheriff's contract:

The Jefferson County Commission on Tuesday will consider a $70,000-per-month legal services contract with the Riley & Jackson law firm for the sheriff's office.

The request is among eight contracts costing more than $2 million recommended this week by commission committees.

President David Carrington said none of the contracts has been approved, only moved to the agenda for a full commission vote.

"It's saying that in seven more days we would have reviewed everything," Carrington said. "Each one will be reviewed, and we will do our due diligence, and if it makes sense, we will proceed."

The sheriff's $840,000 contract with Riley & Jackson did not cause the kind of friction that divided the previous commission and Sheriff Mike Hale.

The former commission, which left office last month, and the sheriff's office battled over a number of matters, including legal services and a jail medical contract. Some of those commissioners said the sheriff could save money by inviting bids on his contracts.

Under Alabama law, professional service contracts do not have to be awarded through the competitive bid process.

legalschnauzer said...

Here's more re: the Riley Sheriff's contract:

On Wednesday, Commissioner Joe Knight said the new commission is unlikely to get involved with the sheriff's budget.

"The sheriff hires his own attorney, and he negotiates the fees with his attorney," Knight said. "The sheriff has his own budget, and it's up to him the way he wants to do it. I'm not going to get involved in what he does with his department."

The sheriff's operations are funded out of the county's general fund, but he gets to spend the money as he sees fit. The commission's vote is a formality.

Jefferson County Chief Deputy Randy Christian said the office needs the best legal representation it can hire.

"For a sheriff's office our size, it's necessary to have a firm that is available 24/7 and extremely competent," Christian said. "I can hardly think of a day when I don't have to speak to one of the firm's principals."

The sheriff's attorneys handle 25 to 50 active cases at a time, ranging from class actions to individual or multi-party lawsuits involving employment matters, worker's compensation claims, civil rights issues, constitutional issues, statutory construction and enforcement, personal injury and property damage, Christian said.

"The volume of work generated would overwhelm the county attorneys' resources, and they would simply contract out the litigation to other firms," Christian said. "The firm we have now has done extraordinary work and at a reduced fee than previous years. We monitor that very closely."

One of the firm's principals is Rob Riley, son of Gov. Bob Riley.

Anonymous said...

Bob klan do it?

Anonymous said...

Todd Stacy seems to have selective amnesia. He says Bob Riley's stature has aged well because of the mess that came after him. What about the messes while Bob was in office?

legalschnauzer said...

Good question. Stacy probably didn't intend this, but his words seem like a backhanded compliment -- that Riley is viewed favorably, not because of anything he did, but because his successor (Robert Bentley) was such a failure. Do Alabama voters feel Bob Riley's stature has aged well? I don't see how anyone would know if that's even true. And it goes back to this: Does Rob Riley have anything to offer beyond his family name, which might not be viewed all that favorably anyway.