Roy Moore bested the incumbent Sen. Luther Strange in a Republican runoff election on Tuesday in Alabama. Moore, a former supreme justice of the Alabama Supreme Court will now go before Alabama voters in December when he runs against a Democrat. Moore was already leading in voter intention by 11 percent, according to Real Clear Politics averaging of polls, and by 11 p.m. on Tuesday, Moore had won 54.6 percent or 262,204 votes while Strange garnered 45.4 percent or 218,066 votes. When the results from about half the 2,286 precincts were in, AP Wire services called the election for Moore.
As his victory became clear, Moore tweeted: “Because of you, tonight, the establishment has been DEFEATED in Alabama!”
Moore will now contend with Democrat Doug Jones in the Dec. 12 special election for the Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who left behind a safe Republican seat in order to join the Trump administration. President Donald Trump tweeted his delight over Moore’s victory, even while he had endorsed Sen. Strange and had stumped for him last Friday. Trump tweeted, “Congratulations to Roy Moore on his Republican Primary win in Alabama. Luther Strange started way back & ran a good race. Roy, WIN in Dec!”
On Friday, even while he endorsed and stumped for Strange, Trump said at the Friday evening rally in Huntsville “I might have made a mistake,” by endorsing the appointed incumbent. However, he then said he would work “like hell” to elect Moore should the latter win the day.
In a written concession statement, Strange told fellow Alabamians, “From the beginning of this campaign, my priority has been serving the people of Alabama.” Strange, Alabama’s former attorney general, wrote: “Tomorrow, I will go back to work with President Trump and do all I can to advance his agenda over the next few weeks.”
Moore, who has sprinkled his campaign speeches with references to his Christian faith and belief in the Second Amendment, said in his victory remarks:
“Together we can make America great. We can support the president. Don’t let anybody in the press think that because [Trump] supported my opponent I do not support him and support his agenda. As long as it’s constitutional, as long as it advances our society, our culture, our country, I will be supportive. … But we have to return the knowledge of God and the Constitution of the United States to the United States Congress.”
The Tuesday runoff was necessitated when neither Moore nor Strange was able to get 50 percent of the vote in the crowded 10-candidate August 15 primary. Moore garnered 40 percent as opposed to Strange’s 33 percent; Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala) finished in third place with 20 percent. GOP senators hope to preserve a slim margin of 52 seats in the Senate.
Moore will face Democrat Doug Jones, a 63-year-old lawyer and former U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama appointed by Bill Clinton. Jones’ platform includes health care reform, environmentalist notions, civil rights, and criminal justice reform.
Strange had received support from the Senate Leadership Fund, a political action committee linked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky), that paid for radio and TV ads that filled the state’s airwaves will millions of dollars of pro-Strange ads.
Moore had the endorsement of several conservative Republicans, including former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, Breitbart News executive Stephen Bannon, and former White House official Sebastian Gorka. Last Thursday, Palin said, “A vote for Judge Moore isn’t a vote against the president.” Palin added, “It is a vote for the people’s agenda that elected the president. It’s for the big, beautiful movement that we’re all a part of. The president needs support to keep the promises that elected him. So we’re sending Trump someone who has our back, not Mitch McConnell’s … Make no mistake, ‘Big Luther’ is Mitch McConnell’s guy.”
Moore is renown stems from being removed twice as Alabama’s chief justice, first in 2003 for refusing to take down a Ten Commandments monument, and again in 2016, after his re-election, for ordering judges not to issue licenses for same-sex marriages. His platform included support for limited government, immigration reform, a border wall, energy independence, and the military. At a recent rally, Moore brandished a small shiny revolver to show his dedication to the Second Amendment.