Moore’s path to vic­tory in Alabama Se­nate race: God, guns and de­fi­ance

Ripon Bulletin - - Nation -

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.”

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