Roby, Bright headed to GOP primary runoff

Runoff between Roby and Bright could be close
The winner of the runoff will face Democrat Tabitha Isner in November. (Source: WSFA 12 News)
The winner of the runoff will face Democrat Tabitha Isner in November. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - U.S. Rep. Martha Roby has been forced into a runoff in Alabama's Republican primary after challengers blasted her 2016 criticism of Donald Trump.

Roby faces Bobby Bright in a July runoff in Alabama's conservative 2nd district - where Trump loyalty has been a central issue.

The winner of the runoff will face Democrat Tabitha Isner in November.

Roby is a four-term incumbent. In campaigning for Tuesday's primary, she emphasized her record and working relationship with the White House.

Roby released this statement Tuesday night:

"I am grateful for the strong support my campaign has received, and I look forward to continuing to discuss my proven record as a conservative Republican for the next six weeks. We have run this race before. The people who live and work in Alabama's Second District rejected the big government, liberal policies that came as a result of the Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi era when they voted to replace Democrat Bobby Bright with a Republican. I am confident they will do so again.

In 2016, Roby criticized Trump after a 2005 recording surfaced of him making lewd comments about women, saying the behavior made him an unacceptable candidate and suggesting he step away from the presidential ticket.

Bright is a former Montgomery mayor who represented the district for two years as a Democrat before losing in 2010 to Roby. He ran an ad with footage of Roby's Trump comment.

Bright released this statement Tuesday night:

"Congratulations to Representative Roby for a hard-fought race. We look forward to the runoff on Tuesday, July 17th. Additionally, I want to commend Tommy, Barry, and Rich for their hard work and I humbly ask for their support in the weeks ahead. Thank you to the people of District 2 for their vote of confidence in our campaign. Every vote matters and I look forward to earning your trust and support."

Copyright 2018 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.