Moore’s path to victory in Alabama Senate race: God, guns and defiance
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Roy Moore wouldn’t stand a chance in many Senate races after defying federal court orders, describing Islam as a false religion, calling homosexuality evil and pulling out a revolver on stage before hundreds of supporters.
But in Alabama, he’s now the odds-on favorite to join the nation’s most exclusive political body. Moore prevailed Tuesday in a Republican primary runoff by defeating an opponent backed by both President Donald Trump and deep-pocketed allies of Sen. Mitch McConnell.
As hard as it may be to understand in liberal cities such as New York or San Francisco, Moore is widely popular across a mostly white, Christian-dominated state where voters have repeatedly embraced outsiders who campaign on embracing God and rebuffing authority.
“The things that end careers for politicians elsewhere strengthen Roy Moore,” said Alabama political strategist David Mowery, who helped run a Democratic campaign against Moore for state chief justice in 2012.
After all, this is a state where George C. Wallace, who famously vowed “segregation forever” and defied court orders, won four terms as governor. President Donald Trump carried the state handily with his insurgent run for the White House. It’s also a place where campaign commercials often depict politicians at a church, praying or holding a Bible.
Moore wraps all that into a single package. He was removed as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court twice after higher courts found he rejected rulings regarding Ten Commandments displays and gay marriage. He’s also a horse-riding, gun-toting Vietnam veteran who has talked for his entire public career about acknowledging the God of the Christian Bible.
He lost bids for the Republican nomination for governor in 2006 and 2010, but that didn’t matter in the Senate race.
In his closing argument to voters — an election eve appearance where he stood in a barn and brandished a handgun to demonstrate his support of the Second Amendment — Moore quoted both scripture and the state’s motto: “We dare defend our rights.”