Alabama voters elected conservative firebrand Roy Moore as the Republican nominee for a US Senate seat on Tuesday (Sept. 26), dealing a blow to President Donald Trump who had endorsed and campaigned for his rival Luther Strange.
An outspoken evangelical Christian who positioned himself as an anti-establishment candidate, Moore won 55 percent of the vote — a 10-point margin over Strange — despite Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell having spent millions of dollars trying to knock him out of the race.
Moore, who waved a gun on stage during a campaign rally and lost twice his position as the state’s top judge over decisions influenced by his faith, has called to put religion at the centre of public life.
“We have to return the knowledge of God and the Constitution of the United States to the United States Congress,” he said.
Despite campaigning for Strange, Trump congratulated Moore for his victory and urged him to defeat Democrat Doug Jones in the December election to fill a seat that was held by Jeff Sessions before he became U.S. Attorney General in February.
“Congratulations to Roy Moore on his Republican Primary win in Alabama. Luther Strange started way back & ran a good race. Roy, WIN in Dec!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Yet the race exposed rifts between the Republican party’s conservative base and its moneyed establishment — and within Trump’s inner circle.
Moore’s inflammatory style could also bring a new level of turbulence to the Senate, where Republicans have struggled to reach consensus on tax and spending issues and have failed repeatedly to roll back Obamacare.
Congratulations to Roy Moore on his Republican Primary win in Alabama. Luther Strange started way back & ran a good race. Roy, WIN in Dec!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 27, 2017
“9/11 a ‘punishment’ for turning away from God
Moore has made a name for himself with some extreme comments, saying in 2005 that “homosexual conduct” should be illegal and likened it to bestiality.