Former Kelly aide to mount last-minute Alabama Senate bid against Moore (Politico)

Former Kelly aide to mount last-minute Alabama Senate bid against Moore

http://politi.co/2BsPxFj

In a Nov. 3, 2017 photo, sculptor, Tuscaloosa resident and retired Marine Col. Lee Busby checks the image of Mark Forester he sculpted outside the University of Alabama Foundry in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. | AP

Former Kelly aide to mount last-minute Alabama Senate bid against Moore

Former Marine Col. Lee Busby says he sees an opportunity for a centrist to notch a victory.

Updated


A former top aide to White House chief of staff John Kelly intends to launch a last-minute write-in campaign in the race for Alabama’s open Senate seat.

Retired Marine Col. Lee Busby, 60, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, said Monday he plans to challenge Democratic candidate Doug Jones and embattled Republican Roy Moore for the state’s open seat. He also launched a bare-bones website counting down to the Dec. 12 special election.

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Busby — who said he voted for Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the 2016 Republican primary and for President Donald Trump in the general election but says he is “not involved” with the Republican Party apparatus — told POLITICO in an interview that he was inspired to run out of his disillusionment with the existing candidates for Senate.

“I was not happy with the two choices, and I have for some time, mainly for the last year or so, had a desire to continue serving and help serve this country,” said Busby, who retired from the Marines in 2013. He first discussed his plans to run with the Washington Post on Monday.

Busby, who served as vice chief of staff to Kelly when he was a three-star lieutenant general, expressed support for Trump’s performance in office thus far. He said he had not spoken with Kelly or any major party officials about his candidacy, but he said he could see himself reaching out if his campaign picks up steam.

The former military officer, set to step into a race dominated by allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against Moore, said the controversy was not what compelled him to run.

“I don’t need to know. I looked at it as a voter, and I decided I didn’t need to be involved with that,” Busby said of the allegations.

Instead, Busby said, he saw an opportunity to run as a centrist independent who could fill the space between the Democratic and Republican nominees.

“I saw all of this energy focused at the far left front and the far left front, and I thought they’d left the middle completely undefended,” he said. “And that’s my strategy, drive straight up the middle.”

Busby said if he won, he anticipated that he would be supportive of efforts by Senate Republicans to overhaul the tax code, pending any major changes.

“I fully expect that I will be a yes on that, depending on how that works out,” he said.

After retiring from the Marines in 2013, Busby turned to what he described as a “leisurely” life as a sculptor.

In an interview with Southern Living posted on the campaign site, Busby discussed how his military career shaped his outlook on life.

“In the military, we say a warrior dies twice,” Busby said. “The first time is when he draws his last breath, and the second time is when someone speaks his name for the last time.”

Trump, who tapped Kelly to be his chief of staff in July, blasted Jones in an early morning tweet on Sunday, indirectly lending his support to Moore’s candidacy.

“I endorsed Luther Strange in the Alabama Primary. He shot way up in the polls but it wasn’t enough. Can’t let Schumer/Pelosi win this race. Liberal Jones would be BAD!” he wrote.

Moore has come under fire after allegations of sexual misconduct involving teenagers surfaced earlier this month.

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via Politico http://politi.co/2lnbIsw

November 27, 2017 at 10:43AM