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Davis steered the money Riley’s way partly because of Riley’s strong conservative ties, but also to keep Riley energized in a push to keep his current Alabama seat in GOP hands. Riley’s 3rd Congressional District was in danger of being re-configured during redistricting, and that threat is said to have scared off several potential high-profile Republicans from filling that seat. It’s believed that some of the NRCC money will be steered to whichever candidate emerges as the top GOP prospect.
But the NRCC money has Riley challenger Steve Windom angry. A moderate, Windom claims he saved the 3rd district from redistricting and deserves the support of the national party more than Riley does. An NRCC fundraiser disagrees. “Riley means more to the party than Windom does,” he says. “He’s done good work for us up on the Hill. He deserves our support, and he’s going to help us hold that 3rd District seat, much more than Windom would.”
According to another NRCC staffer, Riley has agreed to keep his congressional staff intact for whoever wins the seat, assuring a smooth transition.
The $300,000 donation is a surprise, however, in that the NRCC normally does not provide such large financial support to non-House campaigns. “This is a unique situation,” says the NRCC staffer. “We have a chance to win a statehouse and hold a House seat. It’s a good investment.”
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