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Super PAC forms to help Carl in AL-1 runoff

By TODD STACY, Alabama Daily News

A new federal political action committee is helping Jerry Carl in the GOP runoff for Congress in Alabama’s 1st District.

Right for Alabama PAC is an unlimited independent expenditure committee, often referred to as a Super PAC. Organizers told Alabama Daily News the group was formed by local business leaders to help push back against the Club for Growth, a Washington-based political group that has endorsed Bill Hightower in the race and pledged to spend several hundred thousand dollars to secure his victory.

“For some time now, a D.C.-based special interest group has tried to buy this election and attack the good name and character of Jerry Carl,” Right for Alabama organizers wrote to ADN in a statement.  “We could not sit back and continue to watch this happen to an honorable man like Jerry Carl. This D.C.-based special interest group did not support Donald Trump in 2016 and it continually opposes the Farm Bill, the National Flood Insurance Program and other critical policies that help South Alabama.”

The latest campaign finance report from April shows the group has $18,800 cash on hand, but organizers say they have raised much more in recent weeks and will continue major fundraising efforts. The runoff is July 14.

Right for Alabama PAC is organized by some well-known south Alabama businesses and civic leaders, including Wiley Blankenship, former Mayor Mike Dow and Richard Weavil. The PAC is chaired by Jerry Lathan, who owns a historic preservation company headquartered in Mobile. He is also the husband of Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan. However, PAC organizers tell Alabama Daily News that it is Jerry Lathan’s lifelong friendship with Carl that led to his leadership of the PAC and that it does not come with the involvement or endorsement of his wife or the party.

Alabama Daily News obtained polling recently conducted by the PAC showing Carl in a favorable position leading into the final month of the campaign. In a survey taken June 4-5 among likely Republican voters, Carl led Hightower on a runoff ballot test 43% to 24% with 33% remaining undecided.

That’s a wide margin for a race many consider to be a lot closer. However, the poll also tested the ballot for the Senate runoff in the 1st District and showed Jeff Sessions leading Tommy Tuberville 41% to 40% with 19% undecided – results that are similar to a recent Alabama Forestry Association poll.

Right for Alabama Runoff Poll

“If the primary runoff election for Alabama’s 1st District were held today, who would you for for?”

Jerry Carl43%
Bill Hightower24%

The PAC also polled some “push” questions testing voter reactions to negative statements about Hightower, including how outside  organizations are supporting his candidacy, which suggests their planned line of messaging.

The survey was conducted by co-efficient and paid for by Right for Alabama PAC, which supports Carl’s candidacy. It surveyed 647 likely Republican voters within the 1st District though “multi-mode” methodology, which includes the use of text message invitations to cell phones and interactive voice responses to landlines. According to the pollster, the survey has a margin for error of +/- 3.6%.

See the full polling memo HERE.


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