In the Republican primary runoff in Alabama’s Senate race, former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore defeated ex-Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, who was endorsed by President Donald Trump. With 35% precincts reporting as of 9:18 PM ET, he had a 57.6% – 42.4% margin but he is now projected to win.
Projection: Roy Moore wins the #ALSen R runoff. Will go on to face Doug Jones (D) in the general election.
— Decision Desk HQ (@DecisionDeskHQ) September 27, 2017
Projection: Roy Moore (R) defeats Sen. Luther Strange (R) in #ALSEN GOP runoff.
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) September 27, 2017
While on the surface this was just a race to determine who the Republican Party will nominate to fill the seat vacated by current Attorney General Jeff Sessions, it actually looks to be the opening salvo in the civil war for the soul of the GOP.
Strange, who is temporarily serving as Sessions’ replacement after being appointed by then-Governor Robert Bentley, was seen as the choice of the establishment wing of the Republican Party. He’d been backed by GOP Senate leadership and Republican Super-PACs while having both Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence travel to Alabama to campaign for him.
Meanwhile, Moore enjoyed the support of the activist, populist wing of the GOP. The far-right outlet Breitbart — along with its leader Steve Bannon — went all in for him, and well-known conservative firebrands like Sarah Palin, Louie Gohmert, Seb Gorka and Phil Robertson campaign for the man who is known for his extremely conservative stances on social and religious issues.
While Trump threw his support behind “Big” Luther Strange, the Breitbart wing suggested that the President was only endorsing Strange to appease Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and would have preferred to back Moore. And during his rally for Strange last week, Trump offered up a rather tepid endorsement of the sitting senator while saying that he might have made a mistake.
In the initial GOP primary, Moore received the most votes but did not hit the 50% threshold to avoid a runoff, receiving 39% of the vote compared to Strange’s 33%. Heading into Election Night, RealClearPolitics had Moore up 11 points in the polls.
[image via screengrab]
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