Latest Polls in Alabama Have Anti-establishment Candidate with Big Lead
In the latest polls for the Alabama Republican Senate primary, anti-establishment candidate Roy Moore has an 11 point lead over incumbent Luther Strange.
The race to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ former seat has turned into another test for establishment Republicans to hold onto their seats, as a wave of discontent continues to sweep the Party in the light of its recent legislative failures. Whoever wins this primary in deep-red Alabama will most likely win the special election to be held later this year.
In the lead up to this primary there was an earlier one that featured three serious Republican contenders vying for the seat: Luther Strange, Roy Moore and Mo Brooks. Strange, the incumbent, was appointed to fill the Senate seat in February after Sessions became the top U.S. law enforcement official.
Trump, along with Vice President Mike Pence, had endorsed Strange back in early August before that original primary, with Trump even recording a robocall for Strange. After that election, since no candidate garnered over 50% of the vote, the top two vote getters, Moore, and Strange have proceeded to this run-off primary, and Trump has taken a hands off approach this time.
The endorsement of Strange in the first primary was viewed by many as a nod to Mitch McConnell, in an effort to show solidarity with the Senate Majority leader, who supports Strange, after several contentious verbal battles between McConnell and the President following the failure of Republicans to pass Obamacare repeal. Strange has voted in line with Trump’s agenda about 92 percent of the time, and as the current incumbent it seemed like a deal was struck to throw the President’s political popularity with the Republican base to him.
However, since those initial endorsements, the President has been decidedly non-committal to the incumbent. In the immediate aftermath of the August primary, he tweeted out support for both candidates that remained.
Congratulations to Roy Moore and Luther Strange for being the final two and heading into a September runoff in Alabama. Exciting race!
This of course signaled real trouble for those in the Strange camp.
Moore, 70, was removed as chief justice in 2003 for opposing the removal of a Ten Commandments statue from the state Capitol. After being elected to be chief justice in 2015, he was suspended from the position a year later. He told judges to uphold Alabama’s law against same-sex marriage despite the Supreme Court legalizing it nationwide. He later resigned to seek the Senate seat.
Moore has cast himself as an anti-establishment candidate and touted policy positions similar to Trump’s.
Strange has contended that the President recently promised a campaign rally on his behalf, following a phone-call the two had, but there has been no indication that such a rally will take place, and with only 18 days to go before the Republican runoff the Strange campaign has been unable to schedule the event, and the White House has shown less interest in recent days as the senator has dropped in the polls, according to people familiar the discussions.
All signs point to a big defeat coming for the incumbent if things hold to form, and that would not be good news for Mitch McConnell and friends up on Capitol Hill.
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