Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore won a major victory Tuesday in Alabama’s special election GOP runoff against interim Sen. Luther Strange, and he’s widely expected to win the race for the Senate in December.
In the final count, Moore garnered 54.6 percent to Strange’s 45.4 percent.
Analysts had claimed the race embodied a war inside the GOP between establishment and anti-establishment forces.
As WND reported, Breitbart Washington Bureau Chief Matthew Boyle even suggested the race was “a flashpoint in a larger war inside the GOP for the heart and soul of the party.”
Moore’s candidacy represents a referendum against the “swamp,” Boyle argued.
“If Alabamians send Moore to the U.S. Senate, they will be sending a message to the swamp in Washington, D.C., that they do not support Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and others’ efforts to dilute the agenda that President Trump campaigned on,” he wrote.
Former Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, who resigned amid scandal, had appointed Strange to the seat vacated when Sen. Jeff Sessions became U.S. attorney general. Moore came away from the initial Republican primary on Aug. 15 with 39 percent of the vote, while Strange, who was backed by the GOP establishment, had 32.8 percent. The third leading GOP candidate, Republican Rep. Mo Brooks, took 20 percent.
Now Moore will face Democrat Doug Jones in the December special election. The Republican nominee is expected to prevail in the GOP-dominated state.
President Trump had campaigned on behalf of Strange and voiced support for Strange in the August primary.
“‘Big Luther’ is a great guy who gets things done!” he tweeted.
In one interview with an Alabama radio show Monday, Trump admitted, “I don’t know that much about Roy Moore.”
McConnell and his allies endorsed Strange before the initial Republican primary in August, stoking criticism that Strange represented the Washington establishment, which dropped a cool $30 million on the race. With the exception of Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who has said he refrains from getting involved in primaries involving incumbents, Strange had the support of nearly all his colleagues in the Senate.
Meanwhile, Moore had been making political hay out of the establishment support for Strange. In a fundraising email, he accused the McConnell of “dirty tricks and schemes … like turning out Democrats to vote for his crony Luther Strange in our Republican primary.”
“Judge Roy Moore in the U.S. Senate means the END of Mitch McConnell’s reign as Majority Leader,” Moore added.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, slammed Moore in a recent interview, asserting the former Alabama Supreme Court justice would not be a productive member of the Republican caucus.
“Look at his track record,” Cornyn said. “It’s highly likely that he could be disruptive. We’re talking about somebody who has been removed from the bench twice.”
Moore was first removed, on a federal judge’s order, from the Alabama Supreme Court more than a decade ago for refusing to remove a statue of the Ten Commandments from the Supreme Court building. Voters put him back in the same position. He then was removed in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s creation of same-sex “marriage” when he issued an administrative order advising Alabama judges with with respect to a current marriage case, the state law regarding marriage was still in force.
“They feel like maybe I would take the same kind of attitude at the United States Senate,” Moore said of Senate Republicans in an interview with Politico. “And maybe I would. Because I stand for what I believe in.”
At the entrance to an election night watch party for Moore, there was a large display of the Ten Commandments.
Fox News correspondent Jonathan Serrie tweeted the following image of the display.
Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon threw his support behind Moore. Bannon also told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Monday that there should be a “real review” of the information given to President Trump to convince him to back Strange.
“They tried to destroy Donald Trump; the same gang that is going after Roy Moore is the same gang that went after Donald Trump,” Bannon said. “And I have to tell you, I think at some time later after [Tuesday], a real, you know, review has to be done of how President Trump got the wrong information and came down on the wrong side of the football here.”
Bannon attended Tuesday night’s election night watch party and introduced Moore before his victory speech.
After Moore’s win, 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 Nov!”
At a Conservative Action Project meeting on Aug. 28, Bannon emphasized that his support for Moore is not about undermining or subverting the president, but is a move to disrupt the GOP establishment, specifically to rebuke McConnell.
Former GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin also endorsed Moore last month, arguing he “has what it takes to stand up to the out-of touch political establishment.”
Boyle said most of the Washington establishment “that despises Trump’s agenda – including the Chamber of Commerce, the NRA, McConnell’s forces, and Karl Rove and his allies – have aligned behind Strange.”
“Most of the supporters of the president’s agenda – including Fox News anchor Sean Hannity, former White House chief strategist and Breitbart News executive chairman Stephen K. Bannon, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin – have aligned behind Moore’s campaign.”