By CAROLINE BECK, Alabama Daily News
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – In his recent campaigns for Congress, former State Rep. Barry Moore, R-Enterprise, has frequently touted his claim of being Alabama’s first elected official to publicly endorse Donald Trump for president. But the first time Trump was on the ballot in the competitive 2016 presidential primary, Moore didn’t vote.
According to voting records from the Alabama Secretary of State’s office, Moore did not participate in the 2016 primary election. He did vote in every previous election going back to 2010 and each one after the 2016 primary, records show.
When asked about the election by Alabama Daily News, Moore said that he didn’t realize he had missed voting in the primary. After looking back over his social media posts, Moore blamed it on the Alabama Legislature being in session on that day – March 1, 2016 – and said he did not have enough time to make it back home to vote.
“I honestly thought I had voted that day because I am a regular voter,” Moore said in a statement. “And I had some skin in the game for sure. After looking back in my social media and journals, I realize that the Alabama Legislature was in session that day. As a member of the Legislature, I was in Montgomery. I’m sure I thought I would be able to leave Montgomery in time to get back and vote. I was wrong. Records show that the session went long. I know now that I made the decision to stay in Montgomery and do my job for the people of District 91.”
According to its journal, the Alabama House of Representatives convened at 2:00 p.m. and adjourned at 5:18 p.m. on March 1, 2016 with Moore counted as present. Enterprise, where Moore lives, is about 90 minutes to two hours away from the State House in Montgomery, depending on traffic. Polling places in Alabama are open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
When asked why Moore did not vote that morning, spokesperson Jonathan Barbee told ADN that Moore was scheduled at the last minute to lead a school tour of the State House that morning.
Moore went on to say that even though he didn’t vote in the 2016 primary, he did go on to vote for Trump during the Republican National Convention as a delegate for Alabama that year.
“As someone who is asking for people’s votes, it’s hard to admit that I missed one, but, it happens,” Moore said. “I had to make a choice that day. I hope I was able to make it up to President Trump by going to the Republican National Convention months later and casting my vote for him as a delegate from Alabama.”
Trump won the GOP primary in 2016 with about 43% of the vote, followed by Ted Cruz at 21%.
Moore also said that he hopes people learn from his mistake in 2016 and promoted absentee voting if necessary.
“I have learned a valuable lesson,” Moore said. “Looking back, I should have voted absentee that year since we were in session, just in case we ran long. Learn from my mistake and get an absentee ballot if you think you won’t make it to the polls.”
Moore first publicly endorsed Trump during a rally in Mobile in August 2015, when Trump’s ability to win the GOP presidential nomination was very uncertain. Moore has continued to highlight this fact in a number of his campaign ads.
Moore is competing against Dothan businessman Jeff Coleman for the GOP nomination on July 14 for Alabama’s second congressional district race. Coleman won 38% of the vote in the March 3 GOP Primary, with Moore securing a spot in the runoff with 21% of the vote.
Records from the Alabama Secretary of State’s office, Coleman voted in the Republican Primary in March 2016.