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Alabama: Focus Turns to Bachus After Schmidt Upset

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Could Rep. Spencer Bachus (R) be the next Rep. Jean Schmidt? Alabama Republicans see a real potential that the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee could follow in his Ohio colleague’s footsteps and be the second Republican knocked off by a primary challenger this cycle.

Bachus faces state Sen. Scott Beason in Tuesday’s primary.

“If Beason had the money, I believe he would win,” one Alabama Republican activist said. “Certainly Spencer is more vulnerable than he’s ever been.”

Schmidt, aiming for her 5th term, shocked the D.C. political establishment Tuesday night when she lost to a primary challenger loosely affiliated with the tea party who hammered her for alleged ethics violations. She was attacked by ads from a third-party group called the Campaign for Primary Accountability.

Bachus is dealing with alleged ethics violations of his own, faces vulnerability from the right for his vote in favor of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 and faces a tea-party-affiliated opponent in Beason. The Campaign for Primary Accountability is also airing an ad against Bachus. The Birmingham News reported the buy started at $59,000 in the Birmingham media market.

If the organization puts a lot more money in its anti-Bachus campaign, Alabama Republicans said Beason, who has struggled to raise money, might have a real shot at getting to a runoff with Bachus.

“The only thing that keeps him in play is if the super PAC puts in a lot of money,” the state activist said.

The odds are still in Bachus’ favor — he recently began airing a new TV ad addressing the ethics investigation of him — but there is a real potential, less remote than a month ago, that this term could be his last.

According to records filed with the Federal Election Commission, Bachus’ campaign spent $752,000 from Jan. 1 to Feb. 22; Beason’s campaign spent $37,000 during the same time period.

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