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Alabama showdown looms between Reps. Jerry Carl and Barry Moore

Mary Ellen McIntire, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

The member vs. member primary in Alabama between GOP Reps. Jerry Carl and Barry Moore is exposing a growing rivalry as it enters its final week.

The Super Tuesday contest will end the congressional career of one of the lawmakers, who are both in their second terms. In advertisements, both men have sought to paint themselves as more conservative, in a ruby-red district that former President Donald Trump would have won by 50 percentage points in 2020.

The face-off comes after Alabama adopted a new congressional map that moved Moore’s hometown into the 1st District that Carl represents after the Supreme Court said the state must give African American voters two districts, instead of just one, where they can influence the election of a representative.

National issues have mostly dominated the primary, said Thomas Shaw, an associate professor of political science and director of the USA Polling Group at the University of Southern Alabama. Carl has appeared to go after Moore more directly through attack ads, while Moore has emphasized his Freedom Caucus ties on the campaign trail.

“Both seem to be trying to position themselves as the most MAGA of the two candidates,” Shaw said, using the shorthand for Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan. “And I think Carl’s attacks have really attacked at that, but I think Moore is probably sitting a little better with the public right now in terms of his reputation in that regard.”

While local issues haven’t been a primary focus of either candidate, Moore released an ad last week touting that he has not voted for any supplemental funding for Ukraine and instead argued that funding should go toward infrastructure projects, including a needed bridge in the district that has long struggled to get funding.

 

“In two years, Congress sent twice as much money to Ukraine than it spent on every federal road and bridge project in America,” he said in the ad. “Think about that, folks. If we just put America first, we can have the roads and bridges we need with no tolls.”

Moore has also tried to align with Trump, calling himself a “Trump Republican for Congress” in one ad while calling issues like “Biden’s open border” and “billions to Ukraine” garbage.

Carl, meanwhile, has run ads criticizing “liberal nutjobs” while touting his work to pass legislation to address the border crisis and saying he’s stood up to the abortion lobby and gun control groups.

But another ad from Carl’s campaign more directly attacked Moore on taxes, which have become an issue in the race. The ad labels Moore a “tax cheat” and says he supports a 30% national sales tax, seeming to reference Moore’s support for a measure that would replace the income tax with a “consumption tax,” among other proposed changes to the tax code. The two campaigns have also fought about their candidate’s respective tax records.

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