Election 2020

Retired Marine Colonel Says Alabama Senate Write-in Bid is 'Winnable'

Lee Busby (MSNBC)

A former vice chief of staff to Gen. John Kelly, who has worked as a military sculptor since retiring from the Marine Corps in 2013, has jumped into the political ring by announcing he’ll be an independent write-in candidate in the Alabama Senate race.

Col. Lee Busby told MSNBC this morning that he was “not happy with the two choices I had” between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones.

“And I normally don’t have as an extreme reaction to not being happy with choices,” he said. “But I felt like there was a lot of people in Alabama who felt like me. The more I talked to, the more sense I got that there’s this huge swath in the middle that feels like they’re not represented there.”

Busby, a registered Republican, laughed at Moore supporters peppering his new campaign Facebook page with comments, including “I’m either a Democratic agent or a lackey of Mitch McConnell, according to most of that.”

The retired 31-year Marine said he’s not a spoiler and will likely draw votes from people who would otherwise vote for Moore and Jones.

“It’s winnable. My math beforehand, I think it’s a slightly over 200,000 vote race. And that is — I’m not making light of that number. It’s a significant number coming in from nowhere with two weeks left. But we’ve picked up the media coverage already, ahead of schedule. And we now turn to converting that into getting people out to vote, who otherwise were not going to do it,” he said. “And then also we have an education process on how to. I do think it’s doable.”

Busby said he was not a supporter of Moore before the sexual abuse allegations against the retired judge surfaced.

“I don’t know Roy Moore. I’ve never met him. But there’s a sense of self-righteousness that comes out of that campaign that bothered me. And I don’t think it represents the majority of Alabama voters,” he said, adding he “couldn’t care less” about Moore’s scandal.

“I don’t see anything in his background and experience that would compel me, as an individual voter, to elect him as U.S. senator. I see a background steeped in the Alabama judiciary, maybe. But I don’t think that’s the issues. It’s certainly not the exclusive issues or even the majority of issues in the U.S. Senate,” Busby explained. “I don’t see any background in foreign relations, military and intelligence, commerce and banking, foreign trade. I don’t see that. And so — I was not interested in voting for him to begin with.”

He added that “we’ve been divided and gotten so focused on the far left and the far right” that “there’s this big swath of average Alabamians who are not represented in there.”

“And they’re disgusted. They’re disoriented. And I’m talking to people who are politically active, who simply were not going to vote because their choices were the Moore campaign or the Democratic candidate.”