Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. Moore defeated U.S. Senator Luther Strange 54.6% to 45.4%.
From the New York Times:
Roy Moore, a former State Supreme Court chief justice, defeated Senator Luther Strange on Tuesday in the Republican runoff to fill the United States Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions, now the attorney general. Mr. Moore will face the Democratic nominee, Doug Jones, a former United States attorney, in the general election on Dec. 12.
Northern Alabama was anticipated to be a pivotal region, with Senator Luther Strange and Roy Moore, a former State Supreme Court justice, facing off. The area was a stronghold of Representative Mo Brooks, who came in third in the primary. Mr. Strange targeted Mr. Brooks’s home base of Huntsville, and President Trump campaigned for him there last week.
Over all, the race was expected to hinge on turnout of Mr. Moore’s rural base and Mr. Strange’s supporters around Birmingham and Mobile. To offset his rival’s dedicated backers, Mr. Strange counted on a larger number of voters — beyond those who participated in the primary.
Democrats are hoping for an upset in Alabama against Moore. A recent poll had Democrat nominee Doug Jones in a statistical tie with Moore. However, another poll has Moore crushing Jones in the general election.
This is a major defeat for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. McConnell persuaded President Donald Trump to back Strange and McConnell aligned super PACs spent millions backing Strange. In the end, Alabama voters were not persuaded by all the outside money.
If Roy Moore wins the general election, he is expected to be a thorn in the side of McConnell. It will also put the wind under the sails of populist challengers to establishment Republicans. It is expected to be the GOP establishment’s biggest test. 2018 just got very interesting.