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Alabama Senate Primary: Moore-Strange In GOP Runoff; Doug Jones Wins Dem Nomination

by Tyla MacAllister

Roy Moore and Luther Strange will face off in the September 26 Republican runoff for Alabama Senate. The GOP runoff winner will face former Federal prosecutor Doug Jones in the December 12 General Election. Jones won the Democratic primary outright with over 60 percent of the vote.

At 12:00 a.m. Central Time Wednesday, with over 90 percent of the vote counted former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore had received approximately 40 percent to Strange’s 30 percent. Congressman Mo Brooks was a distant third with only 20 percent of the GOP primary vote.

“The attempt by the silk-stocking Washington elitists to control the vote of the people of Alabama has failed,” Moore said Tuesday night. “We need to go back to the recognition that God’s hand is still on this country and on this campaign,” he said. “We must be good again before we can be great. And we will never be good without God.”

Roy Moore was suspended without pay as Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice in 2016 after he instructed judges to ignore the US Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling legalizing gay marriage. He resigned from the court in April when he announced his Senate run.

Moore was first elected Chief Justice in 2001 but was removed from the bench in 2003 when he defied a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama State judicial building in Montgomery. He ran for Governor in 2006 and 2010 but lost in the Republican primaries both times.

Speaking Tuesday night from his campaign headquarters Moore said “We need to go back to the recognition that God’s hand is still on this country and on this campaign,” he said. “We must be good again before we can be great. And we will never be good without God.”

High Profile Endorsements Didn’t Help Strange Avoid Runoff

Despite endorsements from President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, incumbent Luther Strange never managed to consistently out poll Moore, a perennial favorite of Alabama Evangelicals. Strange is also supported by the McConnell-affiliated Senate Leadership Fund which spent at least $3.5 million on ads attacking Brooks for being an “obstructionist to President Trump’s agenda.”

Senate Leadership Fund president and former McConnell chief of staff Steven Law issued a statement Tuesday night,saying: “We are proud to have strongly supported President Trump’s No. 1 ally in this race, and we believe the President’s support will be decisive as we head into the next phase of this campaign, which Sen. Strange will win in September.”

Speaking from his campaign headquarters in Birmingham Tuesday night, Strange, who has called Trump’s election “a Biblical miracle” said he looks forward to helping the President “make America great again.”

“The people of Alabama want someone who will support the President’s agenda,” Strange told CNN. “That’s what I’m running on, and for him to say he wants me in Washington as a partner is a critical factor.”

Former Alabama governor Robert Bentley appointed then-Alabama Attorney General Strange to the Senate when Attorney General Jeff Sessions vacated the seat in February. The appointment was controversial as Strange’s office was investigating Bentley for ethics violations at the time. After Bentley’s resignation in April, Governor Kay Ivey called for a special election to fill the seat.

Doug Jones Wins The Democratic Nomination

Democrat Doug Jones managed to avoid a runoff by taking more than 50 percent of the primary vote. He will face either Moore or Strange in the December General Election. Jones is best known for prosecuting the Ku Klux Klan members responsible for the 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. Four young girls died in the bombing.

Mo Brooks Will Run For a Fifth Term In Congress

Mo Brooks came in a distant third in the Republican primary and announced he will run again in 2018 to represent North Alabama’s 5th District in Congress. The House Freedom Caucus member declined to endorse a candidate in the September runoff but complimented Moore on running a positive campaign.

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