Roby amps up fundraising

June 5, 2010

Alabama congressional candidate Martha Roby is amping up her fundraising ahead of next week’s primary runoff, far outpacing GOP opponent Rick Barber over a six-week period leading up to the election.

Roby has reported taking in over $100,000 during the May 13 – June 23 pre-runoff filing period, new reports with the Federal Election Commission show. Barber, despite recently launching several viral Web videos that have brought him national attention, raised just under $48,000 during that same period.

Roby, a Montgomery City councilwoman, and Barber, a Montgomery bar owner and tea party-oriented candidate, are competing to take on freshman Democratic Rep. Bobby Bright in November. Roby narrowly missed the 50 percent threshold needed to win the nomination in the June 1 primary.

Roby’s takeaway is heartening for GOP officials who have privately expressed concern with her sluggish fundraising efforts to date. She has raised just $540,000 over the course of the campaign, and her newest filing is the first time she has outpaced Bright during a reporting period.

One GOP source said the runoff had pushed Roby’s fundraising campaign in a positive direction. “The runoff has given Martha the opportunity to build positive name recognition and a stronger fundraising operation, so it’s been helpful in that sense,” the source said.

Her fundraising efforts in the runup to the July 13 election have been boosted by a surge in donations from House GOP members, including Kentucky Rep. Brett Guthrie, Illinois Rep. John Shimkus, and National Republican Congressional Committee recruiting head Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). Rep. Spencer Bauchus, the dean of the Alabama House delegation, recently cut Roby a $2,000 check, and Georgia Rep. Phil Gingrey donated $2,000 to Roby and hosted a June 26 event for her in Montgomery that drew medical professionals.

In an e-mail to POLITICO, Roby said the fundraising haul signaled that her “message is clearly striking a chord with Alabamians who want a representative who will not just vote the right way, but will fight for them in Washington.”

Barber has emerged as a stronger-than-expected primary foe, unleashing several widely-viewed web videos that have ricochet through the web. A new spot from the Barber campaign features an Abraham Lincoln impersonator labeling government-run health care “slavery”.

But Barber’s higher profile has also brought him scrutiny. In an interview on MSNBC’s “Hardball” last week, Barber acknowledged that his bar and billiards room had been audited, though he later called the review routine. In June, a local TV station ran a story questioning whether Barber had violated state gaming laws by holding poker tournaments at his bar.

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