Can Lee Busby Run a Successful Write-In Campaign in Alabama?

This article originally appeared on my Newsmax column.

Retired Marine Colonel Lee Busby has announced that he will attempt to mount a write-in campaign to be Alabama’s next senator.

Once thought to be an easy win for Republicans, the nomination of the controversial Judge Roy Moore and subsequent allegations of sexual misconduct have opened the possibility for Democrats to flip the seat and send a detrimental blow to the Republicans' slim majority in the senate. However, some have realized that the situation opens up an opportunity for voters to write-in their own candidate — an idea many, including Busby, have decided to run with.

Busby, 60, is a lifelong Alabamian and a native of Tuscaloosa. He graduated from the University of Alabama and served 31 years as a Marine Infantry Officer. Busby spent time in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and served as Vice Chief of Staff to Lt. General John Kelly, the current White House Chief of Staff. Since retiring from the military, Busby has made a successful career at sculpting and was even featured in Southern Living Magazine.

Busby has said that he decided to run because he does not think that either candidate is fit to serve in the Senate. Republicans leaders in Washington and Alabama have all but ruled out running a write-in candidate against Moore for fear it would surely elect Jones. However, Busby believes that his centrist platform could attract voters from both sides of the aisle.

Busby has said that he voted for Ohio Governor John Kasich in the 2016 Republican Primary and President Trump in the general election. He supports the Republican effort to lower taxes, wants to repeal Obamacare, and believes that life begins at conception. In reference to Jones, he told The Washington Post, “The people of Alabama are not going to be represented by someone who supports a liberal abortion policy. I’m extremely concerned about the Democratic Party in Alabama. I don’t think they reflect Alabama’s views.”

While Busby seems to push the conservative agenda that many Alabama voters would look for in a senator, he simply is not a viable option for a successful write-in candidate.

His biggest downfall is that he has almost no name recognition within the state. If anyone is going to mount a successful campaign against Moore and Jones, it would have to be someone well-known and respected among Alabama’s voters and political elites. That is not Busby. Moreover, while he claims to be running on a centrist platform, his beliefs seem to staunchly line up with the current Republican agenda and would hardly sway any Democrats away from the Jones camp.

The truth is that with the current makeup of candidates, no write-in campaign would be successful. Any candidate would almost certainly pull votes away from Moore and guarantee a Republican defeat. However, there are a few well-known Alabamians who could unite the party on such short notice, especially if Moore were to drop out of the race: Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Congressman Gary Palmer.

Obviously, a triumphant return to reclaim his Senate seat by the current Attorney General is highly unlikely. However, some Republicans have urged Sessions to consider winning back his seat. He is loved throughout the state and would easily defeat Jones and Moore. A more plausible option would be Congressman Gary Palmer. Palmer currently Represents Alabama’s 6th District and is well known throughout the state. He is a staunch conservative and free from the scandal and controversy that surrounds Moore. If Moore dropped out of the race, Palmer could easily defeat Doug Jones by 10-15 points and Palmer can unite all wings of the party!

With the election just two weeks away, something must be done if Republicans want to keep the seat. Voters are desperately searching for another option, but bottom line: Busby is not an option.

Special Thanks to Daniel Bruce, a member of my law firm and former writer for yellowhammer news, who helped write, research and edit this article.