That's really the question upon which this congressional race — one of less than twenty competitive GOP held seats in the country this year — will turn. When I saw both Brooks and Raby at the WVNN candidate mixer a few weeks ago, it was clear that Mo Brooks wants this race to be a referendum on Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi while Democratic nominee Steve Raby wants to talk about bringing jobs and investment to North Alabama. You can see the contrast clearly in this video shot at the WVNN event:
Brooks' strategy is obvious from this article, heavily based on a press release from the Brooks campaign:
“The 5th Congressional District is pivotal to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s reelection effort. As a result, Speaker Pelosi’s liberal allies (personal injury trial lawyers, the NEA, labor unions, and the like) have already “invested” over $100,000 in Democrat Steve Raby’s campaign,” said Brooks.
Brooks added, “Remarkably, each of these liberal special interests (plus the ultra-liberal Alabama Democratic Conference and New South Coalition) preferred Steve Raby in the Democratic Primary over his three apparently more conservative Democratic challengers.”
I have to take exception to that last sentence. Steve Raby was far from the most liberal candidate in the Democratic field — something that gave a lot of us heartburn in the primary.
As noted in that article, the post-primary FEC reports are out for the period 5/13 to 6/30:
Brooks raised $152,565, $44,618 from PACS, and spent $51,160. He has $259,005 cash on hand.
Raby raised $170,606, $69,258 from PACs and spent $162,341, leaving $118,484 cash on hand.
Steve Raby's fundraising performance is fine, but he needs to be careful of the burn rate. Brooks defeated Parker Griffith with a very low $$ campaign that didn't spend until the end and he'll certainly try that again for the general election.