Roy Moore is back and his son has a PAC
Defeated in a surprising upset by Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) in 2017, former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court Roy Moore (R-Ala.) is considering running for a rematch in 2020 despite accusations of inappropriate sexual contact with teenage girls when he was in his 30s.
The idea of Moore running again as the Republican Party’s nominee frustrates and worries the party, but a hybrid PAC run by Moore’s son might play a role in the primary even if Moore opts not to run.
Caleb Moore, son of Roy Moore, is the chairman of the Conservative States of America PAC which his Linkedin describes as a “Consulting agency promoting Conservative leaders in Politics.” Its logo has drawn controversy for using the abbreviation C.S.A., which was used as the abbreviation for the pro-slavery Confederate States of America during the Civil War.
Caleb told the Center for Responsive Politics the PAC will engage in national races in 2020 with a particular focus on religion.
“While it’s still early in the cycle, and we haven’t made any decisions about which elections the PAC will engage in, the purpose and mission of the PAC is to elect Christian conservatives to office nationwide,” he said.
This sentiment is reiterated in a fundraising pitch from the PAC.
“Right now, our political team is finalizing a massive, nationwide grassroots battle plan to mobilize up to 150,000 conservatives across all 50 states to stand up and defend Religious Liberty,” it reads. “But the Left is determined to stomp out Religious Liberty in America. And it’s up to good folks like you and me to stand up and fight back.”
Caleb Moore has faced scrutiny before because of his lengthy arrest record for a variety of misdemeanors.
The PAC launched in July 2018 and raised $11,850 through the end of that year. It will start the 2020 cycle with just more than $2,000 cash-on-hand. The primary donor to the PAC, with $10,000, was John McInnis III. McInnis III is the CEO of McInnis Industries, a construction firm, which has participated in numerous national emergency cleanups. McInnis contributed $2,700 to Roy Moore’s campaign in 2017.
The only other itemized donor was Sonny Wilson who gave $1,700. Wilson is the vice president of the Protect America First PAC, which is affiliated with conservative firebrand and Trump supporter Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona.
CSA PAC spent nothing in independent expenditures or contributions to any campaign committees in 2018. In all, it spent just $8,335 — the single largest disbursement being $2,500 for phone calls.
In January 2019, Caleb Moore, listing his role as president of CSA PAC, signed a letter with more than 200 other “pro-family” organizations calling on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to apologize to Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) and restore his committee assignments. The letter called King a “good man” and described the controversy as a “media-manufactured assault.”
The Facebook page associated with the PAC often shares articles about Moore and his potential run.
If Moore does decide to run again, he’ll likely be searching for campaign funds. With the cloud of accusations hanging over him, Moore raised a paltry $5.2 million for the 2017 special election compared to Jones’ $25 million. Jones would also have an incumbent advantage, likely no primary challenger and the full support of his party, unlike Moore.
Similarly, Moore didn’t have much outside help in 2017 — only about $1.8 million of independent expenditures were in his support. Meanwhile, more than $7.3 million from outside groups was spent opposing him.
One of the notable outside groups which supported Moore in 2017 was the super PAC Proven Conservative which spent $336,645 in his favor. The organization is linked to Republican megadonor Richard Uihlein, the fourth-largest individual donor in the 2018 cycle. However, the super PAC was terminated in March 2018.
To face Jones again, Moore would have to get through other primary opponents. So far, the only major Republican to jump into the race is Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.). Byrne, who endorsed Moore in 2017, has raised $4.7 million since he won a special election to the House in 2013. During the 2018 cycle, Byrne raised $1.46 million in a reliably safe Republican district and currently has more than $1 million cash-on-hand.
Most contributions to Byrne, nearly 61 percent throughout his career, came from PACs, a source of campaign cash that was lacking for Moore in 2017 when PACs netted him less than 2 percent of his total funds. Moore did do relatively well with small donors who made up 55 percent of his contributions.
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