But Roby has touted her support for building the wall and securing the border, top Trump priorities, in her TV Republican primary voters in Alabama will have to decide which is worse: a vote against Donald Trump, or a vote for Nancy Pelosi.
That will be the key question in a July primary runoff involving GOP Rep. Martha Roby, who failed to win renomination in her primary Tuesday when she fell below 50 percent of the vote. She will face former Rep. Bobby Bright, an ex-Democrat, in a head-to-head race for the Republican nomination in July.
Roby spurned Trump in 2016, promising not to vote for him and calling for him to quit the presidential race after the Access Hollywood tape – which featured Trump bragging about how he could grope women with impunity – surfaced in the final weeks of the campaign.
Roby’s rejection of the president hurt, siphoning votes to a write-in candidate in the 2016 general election and drawing four Republican opponents into this year’s primary. She had 38 percent of the vote with more than three-quarters of precincts reporting, while Bright, a former mayor of Montgomery, had 28 percent.
“Martha Roby committed political suicide the day she said Donald Trump wasn’t qualified for political office,” said David Ferguson, a Republican strategist.
But Bright has his own baggage: a vote for Pelosi as speaker of the House from 2009, at the beginning of Bright’s one and only term in Congress as a Democrat. Roby attacked Bright over the vote when she beat him in a general election eight years ago, and the charge can only be more potent in a Republican primary.
That leads Roby supporters say that a Roby-Bright rematch is the "best scenario" for her.
“He’s a Democrat that the Republican Party should never have let join,” Brown added.
Bright told Buzzfeed that the vote for Pelosi was “procedural,” noting that it was “before Nancy Pelosi became so toxic.”
Bright and two other GOP opponents – state Rep. Barry Moore and Rich Hobson, a senior adviser to Roy Moore’s failed Senate campaign in 2017 – deployed Roby’s comments against her in TV ads.
“Roby says she supports the president now, but Roby turned her back on President Trump when he needed her most,” the narrator says in a TV ad released by Bright, cutting to a clip of Roby saying, “Mr. Trump, I would like for you to step aside.”
“That’s right, Martha Roby told Donald Trump to step aside and refused to vote for him for president,” the ad’s narrator continues. “Is that who we want to represent us in Congress?”
But Roby has touted her support for building the wall and securing the border, top Trump priorities, in her TV ads.
"We need to get serious about our border. That’s why I voted to use every tool available to secure it, including a wall," Roby said in her first TV ad. "No delays, no excuses."
Other Roby ads have already set her up as an opponent of Pelosi, including one touting the Republican tax law enacted in 2017.