On Tuesday evening, Roy Moore rattled the Washington establishment as he claimed victory over Luther Strange in the GOP Senate primary in Alabama. Moore finished with 54.6 percent of the vote statewide, while Luther Strange tallied 45.4 percent.
The former chief justice of Alabama’s state Supreme Court, Moore has garnered an outpouring of support from Alabamians since he announced his candidacy in April. Moore also won the backing of many prominent conservatives — including Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity, Steve Bannon, and Laura Ingraham, to name a few — prior to the runoff election. And although President Trump sent tweets to Alabama voters encouraging them to vote for the incumbent Sen. Strange – whom he endorsed over Moore — the President warmly congratulated Moore via telephone call and on Twitter on Wednesday morning:
Spoke to Roy Moore of Alabama last night for the first time. Sounds like a really great guy who ran a fantastic race. He will help to #MAGA!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 27, 2017
Moore spent his campaign persistently conveying to voters that he will do everything possible to challenge the establishment in Washington — a message which clearly resonated with many Alabamians. He also unapologetically stood by his faith, despite facing near constant criticism for combining his political views and judicial responsibilities with religion.
Nevertheless, polling shows that these qualities were likely an advantage for Moore. According to a Pew survey, 77 percent of adults in Alabama consider religion as a very important aspect in their life, and 50 percent of adults in Alabama consider themselves a conservative — data which substantiates Moore’s decisive victory over Strange and which bodes well for him moving forward.
As the campaign now turns to the general election, Moore’s past controversies will surely take center stage. The former judge has been removed twice from Alabama’s state Supreme Court: once in 2003 for refusing to remove a large monument of the Ten Commandments, and a second time in 2016 for instructing probate judges across the state to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision. Moore considers both removals as battle scars in standing up for his values, and while they likely bolstered his anti-establishment image in the primary, it remains to be seen how they will affect voters in the general.
However, Moore’s victory this week over Strange at the very least proves that the anti-establishment voice — the same one that elected President Trump — is still alive and well among Republican voters. The general election, set for Dec. 12, between Moore and Democrat nominee Doug Jones will soon show what lies in store for Alabama and our nation.