U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, of Alabama, campaigns at a fish fry in Andalusia, Ala. Roby drew a backlash for criticizing Donald Trump two years ago. Now shes trying to fend off primary challenger Bobby Bright with Trumps help, in the July 17 runoff. Bright represented the district for two years as a Democrat, but is running as a Republican and charges Roby with not being sufficiently conservative. (Mickey Welsh/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP, File)

MILLBROOK, Ala. — U.S. Rep. Martha Roby[1] won Alabama’s Republican runoff on Tuesday, fighting through lingering fallout from her years-old criticism of then-candidate Donald Trump[2] in a midterm contest that hinged on loyalty to the GOP president.

The four-term incumbent will now represent the GOP on the November ballot having defeated Bobby Bright[3], a former Democrat who tried to cast himself as the more authentic Trump[4] ally in the low-turnout Republican contest.

The Trump White House was on Roby[5]’s side.

Trump[6] and Vice President Mike Pence endorsed the four-term incumbent. The vice president went further and recorded robocalls distributed on her behalf in recent days saying she’s a reliable vote for the Trump agenda.

Some intervention was required after Roby[7] angered Alabama Republicans in the closing days of the 2016 presidential election when she said Trump[8]’s lewd comments about women – captured on an “Access Hollywood” tape – made him unacceptable as a candidate for president.

She spent much of the last two years trying to convince her constituents in Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District that she was sufficiently loyal to Trump[9].

Trump[10]’s support did not guarantee a victory, of course, even in a deep-red district that overwhelmingly backed him two years ago. The president has a mixed record this primary season, having backed a handful of Republican candidates in friendly districts who ultimately lost.

The most noteworthy, perhaps, was Alabama’s own Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, who earned the president’s strong backing but suffered an embarrassing loss just eight months ago.

Voters indicated they were willing to move past Roby[11]’s criticism of Trump[12]....

Don Bascom, a retired mechanical engineer who lives in Prattville, said he generally supports the president, but he also shared Roby[13]’s concerns about him in 2016. He voted for the congresswoman on Tuesday.“I think she has done a good job. She’s an incumbent so to some degree she’s proven herself,” he said. “One of the criticisms I’ve heard of her is that she simply couldn’t vote for Trump[14] when he ran, and to be honest, I couldn’t either because of the way he treats people.”Deborah Gilliam, a registered nurse from Millbrook, said she too was bothered by Roby[15]’s comments about Trump[16], but she ultimately voted for her. She said she felt uneasy with Bright[17]’s party switch.“It was a toss-up,” Gilliam said. “I’ll give her one more chance.”Roby[18] faced the runoff test because she earned only 39 percent of the vote in the first primary contest back in June. Bright was the second-place finisher.Despite her past criticism of Trump[19], the White House eventually emerged as Roby[20]’s most powerful backer.

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