Roy Moore Expected To Run For Senate Again
Some reports are saying that Roy Moore will run for the GOP nomination for Senate again in 2020.
According to reports, former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who unsuccessfully ran for Senate in a Special Election in 2017 to succeed Jeff Sessions, is expected to announce that he will run for the Republican nomination for that seat in 2020:
Roy Moore hasn’t jumped into the 2020 Alabama Senate contest yet, but one potential GOP rival is already welcoming him into the race.
Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.), who launched his Senate campaign in February, told The Hill he’s spoken to GOP sources close to Moore who said the controversial former Alabama judge will announce his candidacy for the Senate in the coming days.
“People who I believe know what they’re talking about say that Judge Moore intends to announce his candidacy for the U.S. Senate in June. I welcome him to the race,” Byrne said in an interview.
Byrne said those conversations took place within the past week, though he has not personally spoken to Moore. A second member of the Alabama congressional delegation said he also has heard that Moore will announce he’s running for the Senate in June.
Moore’s entry would shake up next year’s Senate race in deep-red Alabama, where incumbent Sen. Doug Jones is perhaps the most vulnerable Democrat of the 2020 cycle. Some recent polls have shown Moore, a former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice, leading the field for the GOP nomination.
But Republican officials in Washington have vowed to do whatever they can to stop Moorefrom winning the party’s nomination, worried that he would once again hand Jones a victory.
The 72-year-old Moore lost to Jones in a closely watched 2017 special election after multiple women publicly accused Moore of making sexual advances when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. At least one woman said Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 16.
The Washington Post won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting on Moore’s predatory behavior toward young women. And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said at the time he believed the women who accused Moore.
But Moore has denied the allegations, and earlier this month, his wife, Kayla Moore, sent supporters a fundraising email stating that her husband “is not only fighting back in court against those who conspired to destroy his political career, but is also seriously considering another run for the United States Senate!”
A Moore spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Asked if Moore could win the GOP nomination, Byrne replied that he could not.
“I think people are very concerned that we Republicans lost a U.S. Senate seat because he was our nominee in 2017 and we don’t need to do that again,” Byrne said in the interview. Moore’s political baggage “hasn’t gone away.”
“There are some serious pieces of litigation that have come out of all that. I personally don’t want to talk about any of that; I want to talk about how we’re going to beat Doug Jones,” Byrne continued. “But I think it’s inevitable it’s going to come up in the primary campaign, and if he was the nominee, it certainly would come up in the general election.”
These unconfirmed reports don’t really come as a surprise, of course. As far back as March, there were reports that Moore might get into the race for the GOP nomination to face Doug Jones and he said later in the month that he was “seriously considering” the idea. In April, a poll of actual and potential candidates for the Republican nomination showed Moore leading the field, In that poll, Moore received the support of 27% of respondents, while Congressman Mo Brooks, who is not presently a candidate for the seat, received 13%. Brooks is a member of the House Freedom Caucus who ran for this seat in 2017 only to come in third place behind Moore and then-Senator Luther Strange, who had been appointed to fill the seat after Sessions became Attorney General. Strange, of course, went on to lose the runoff to Moore and apparently is not considering getting into the race this time around. Congressman Bradley Byrne, who seems to be favored by the state Republican establishment, gets 12%, and Congressman Gary Palmer gets 11%. Other potential candidates came in at less than 10%.
The main reason for Jones’s win, of course, was the fact that in the month before the election Moore was credibly accused by a number of women of having sexually assaulted or harassed them when they were underage and Moore was a thirty-something young county prosecutor as detailed here, here, and here. This led nearly all of the Republicans in Alabama and nationwide to withdraw their endorsements of Moore’s candidacy and national Republican organizations to withdraw from the state and withhold aid from Moore’s campaign. Notwithstanding these allegations, of course, Moore still ended up receiving over 48% of the vote. Given that it’s safe to say that Moore probably would have been elected to the Senate if the sexual assault allegations had not been made public before the election notwithstanding the fact that Moore had entered the race with a controversial history as Alabama’s Chief Justice in which he was removed from the bench twice for refusing to comply with orders from a Federal Court related to the placement of a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the State Supreme Court and his refusal to recognize the legitimacy of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges overturning remaining state laws against same-sex marriage.
As I’ve said before, any other Republican would have likely defeated Jones rather easily. This is apparent based on the fact that notwithstanding the charges against him immediately prior to the election, Moore still managed to win 48% of the vote. Indeed, Moore probably would have been elected to the Senate if the sexual assault allegations had not been made public before the election notwithstanding the fact that he had entered the race with a controversial history as Alabama’s Chief Justice, including two instances where he was removed from the bench due to his refusal to comply with the directives of a Federal District Court related to the placement of a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the State Supreme Court and his refusal to recognize the legitimacy of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges overturning remaining state laws against same-sex marriage.
Nonetheless, Jones’s win was significant given the fact that he was the first Democrat elected to the Senate since Howell Heflin was re-elected in 1990 and Richard Shelby, who later changed parties from Democratic to Republican, was re-elected in 1992. However, it is because of those facts that Jones faces an uphill battle in 2020. This is even truer given the fact that he will have to find a way to win statewide in Alabama in a Presidential election year notwithstanding the fact that President Trump won the state by nearly 30 points in 2016 and is likely to post just as strong a win in 2020. Any other Republican would probably beat Jones easily, but if Moore somehow manages to win the nomination again it could be just what Jones needs to win a full term in the Senate.