|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.