Roy Moore Likely Next Alabama Senator

The twice-removed Chief Justice is likely getting a promotion.


Roy Moore, twice removed as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court for illegal conduct, is very likely going to be elected to the US Senate. He’ll face the placeholder incumbent, who he easily outpaced in yesterday’s low-turnout primary, in a run-off.

Former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore and Sen. Luther Strange advanced to a Republican primary runoff in Alabama’s special Senate race, which will put President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s political clout on the line in September.

Moore had 40 percent of the vote and Strange — who was backed by Trump and McConnell — had 32 percent after The Associated Press called the race. Rep. Mo Brooks trailed at 20 percent. Alabama election laws call for the top two primary finishers to compete in a runoff if no candidate gets a majority.


[…]”This is a great victory,” Moore told attendees at his election night party. “The attempt by the silk stocking Washington elitists to control the vote of the people of Alabama has failed.”

Moore then pivoted to the runoff, looking to consolidate the two-thirds of the GOP primary vote that went against Strange.

“I extend my hand of friendship to my fellow candidates who did not make this runoff that will be held on September 26. Those candidates ran on honorable and ethical campaign,” Moore said. “… I was honored to campaign with them to make America great again. I now invite them to join with me to defeat the Washington crowd lead by Mitch McConnell who attempted to buy the vote of the people of Alabama with millions of money off a PAC in Washington.”

Moore has relied on a solid base of conservative and religious supporters that grew during two stints on the state Supreme Court, which both ended when he was removed for defying federal orders to take down a statue of the Ten Commandments from government grounds and to issue same-sex marriage licenses. His campaign was optimistic ahead of Tuesday that his committed supporters were most likely to turn out for the Senate primary.

However, Moore has yet to face the full force of the Republican machine backing Strange. Senate Leadership Fund, the super PAC run by McConnell allies, highlighted Trump’s endorsement of Strange in a last-minute ad released Tuesday. But the super PAC’s main focus had been on preventing Brooks, a firebrand member of the House Freedom Caucus and avowed critic of McConnell, from overtaking Strange and making the top-two primary runoff.

Brooks’ congressional district will become a key swing region in the runoff between Moore and Strange, slated for Sept. 26. The outspoken congressman attacked Strange throughout the primary, calling him a stooge of McConnell and even lightly chastising Trump for endorsing him. Brooks also tried to garner attention by releasing TV ads about the shooting that wounded House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (which Scalise’s chief of staff criticized) and defending Sessions during his recent tiff with Trump, but Brooks’ campaign was outspent and out-advertised throughout the campaign.

While a lot can happen in five weeks, the writing seems to be on the wall here. The overwhelming number of Brooks’ support will surely go to Moore. The fact that the “establishment” is behind Strange works very much to Moore’s advantage in the current climate.

The Democrats, meanwhile, have nominated a New South candidate:

Candidate Doug Jones has won the Alabama Senate primary, the Associated Press projected.

Eight candidates were on the ballot for the Democratic nomination: Will Boyd, Vann Caldwell, Jason Fisher, Michael Hansen, Jones, Robert Kennedy Jr., Brian McGee, and Charles Nana.

Jones, a former U.S. Attorney known for the prosecution of convicted killers Thomas Blanton and Bobby Frank Cherry for the 1963 Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing, has picked up several endorsements from Democratic leaders, including Rep. John Lewis of Georgia and Rep. Terri Sewell.

The latest count from the AP, which reflected 86 percent of the vote, showed Jones won 84,625 votes– or 63.6 percent.


Last week, Jones also received an endorsement from former Vice President Joe Biden.

“All my life I have been trying to work with folks to make sure people have equal opportunities–they’re treated fairly, they’re treated the same under the law, they re treated with dignity and respect,” Jones said when he arrived to his watch party after learning he had won.

“You know, 15 years ago, I actually went up against the Klan. And we won,” Jones said.

It would be heartening to see the candidate rejecting blatant racism defeat the candidate running on it. That is, alas, not the way I’d bet.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. teve tory says:

    The World’s Worst Deliberative Body™

  2. MarkedMan says:

    I’ve always struggled with how to react to places like Alabama, places that remain at the absolute bottom tier in virtually every category of first world prosperity. Year after year, the rest of the country puts in more than $3 of federal money for every $1 Alabamans pay in taxes. Yet they don’t seem to make any effort to help themselves at the ballot box. Like the definition of insanity, they keep voting the same racist clowns in again and again, hoping for something different. As a majority (or at least a majority of voters) have demonstrated over and over again, for literally hundreds of years, their dreams aren’t fueled by hopes for a better future but by anger and resentment and an all consuming desire to keep the po’s down and show the outside world that they will vote for anyone they d*mn well want to.

    Whether it’s Alabama, or Washington DC during the Marion Barry years, or certain areas of my home town, Chicago (Which literally voted in alderman who were sitting in a jail cell for public corruption), I shake my head and wonder why we keep on pouring money into these clown shows. But in the end I know that rot left to fester just spreads.

  3. teve tory says:

    Matthew Yglesias‏Verified account @mattyglesias 11h11 hours ago

    Roy Moore is not the kind of credible, disciplined, policy-oriented Kid Rock-like candidate the GOP leadership likes to recruit.

  4. Neil Hudelson says:

    It would be heartening to see the candidate rejecting blatant racism defeat the candidate running on it. That is, alas, not the way I’d bet.

    That doesn’t mean we can’t help give him a hell of a fight. I just kicked in a few bucks.

  5. Moosebreath says:

    “It would be heartening to see the candidate rejecting blatant racism defeat the candidate running on it. That is, alas, not the way I’d bet.”

    That is what is so dispiriting about far too many Republicans. Being a undeniable racist is not a deal-breaker for them.

  6. Facebones says:

    @Moosebreath: Yeah. And prosecuting the Klan is probably a mark against the Democrat.

  7. I’d like to think that you’re wrong, and that Republicans in Alabama will be smart enough to pick Strange over Moore. But, I fear you may be correct.

  8. Timothy Watson says:

    It would be heartening to see the candidate rejecting blatant racism defeat the candidate running on it. That is, alas, not the way I’d bet.

    I was reading through the linked article and saw that Roy Moore likes to quote from Joseph Story’s writings.

    Really? The same Joseph Story who, besides Marshall, did more to expand the power of the federal judiciary than anyone else in the first century of the Republic?

    How freaking stupid/crazy is Moore?

  9. teve tory says:

    @Timothy Watson: My most ignominious ancestor.

  10. Anonne says:

    They sure do like the crazy down there. Reminds me of the old Mike Tyson Funny or Die video he did about Herman Cain, where he said they like crazy more than they hate black people.

  11. de stijl says:

    It is exactly in line with what I expect Rs to do.

    We had perky neophyte wiccans like 12 seasons ago. Where is the character progression?

    It’s ruby red Alabama. It should be crazier. It should shift our perceptions of how bonkers a political party could be. Anything less is kinda pussy.