Roy Moore, the GOP frontrunner by a mile for the nomination for the U.S. Senate in the special Alabama election per recent polling, is backing President Donald Trump’s efforts to eliminate the 60-vote filibuster threshold in the U.S. Senate.
In response to President Trump’s Wednesday morning Tweets pushing to eliminate the filibuster rule, Moore responded via Twitter that he “couldn’t agree more, Mr. President.”
If Republican Senate doesn't get rid of the Filibuster Rule & go to a simple majority, which the Dems would do, they are just wasting time!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 23, 2017
“Mitch McConnell should stop hiding behind the filibuster rule and DRAIN THE SWAMP!” Moore Tweeted.
I couldn't agree more, Mr. President. Mitch McConnell should stop hiding behind the filibuster rule and DRAIN THE SWAMP! https://t.co/G6whSFkUSU
— Judge Roy Moore (@MooreSenate) August 23, 2017
In a followup Tweet, Moore asked why his opponent whom the Washington establishment backed, Luther Strange, sides with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and anti-Trump Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) “against” the president’s “call to end filibuster rule?”
— Judge Roy Moore (@MooreSenate) August 23, 2017
Strange, who was appointed to the seat for a temporary post earlier this year when Jeff Sessions left the Senate to become Attorney General, signed a letter with many of his colleagues earlier this year pushing to keep the filibuster. In the letter to McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Strange and his colleagues plead for them to keep the filibuster rule that requires 60 votes instead of 51 votes to pass legislation through the Senate.
Strange and 60 of his other colleagues from both sides of the aisle wrote to Schumer and McConnell:
We are writing to urge you to support our efforts to preserve existing rules, practices, and traditions as they pertain to the right of Members to engage in extended debate on legislation before the United States Senate. Senators have expressed a variety of opinions about the appropriateness of limiting debate when we are considering judicial and executive branch nominations. Regardless of our past disagreements on that issue, we are united in our determination to preserve the ability of Members to engage in extended debate when bills are on the Senate floor.
The letter continues by calling for McConnell and Schumer to keep the filibuster rule for legislation:
We are mindful of the unique role the Senate plays in the legislative process, and we are steadfastly committed to ensuring that this great American institution continues to serve as the world’s greatest deliberative body. Therefore, we are asking you to join us in opposing any effort to curtail the existing rights and prerogatives of Senators to engage in full, robust, and extended debate as we consider legislation before this body.
Strange’s campaign spokeswoman Shana Teehan has not responded to a request from Breitbart News when asked whether he would pull his signature off that letter or regrets signing it.
But Moore has been committed to helping President Trump eliminate the filibuster. The above tweets are hardly the only time he has been publicly backing Trump against McConnell on this matter.
“I think the people should understand that this is a rule—it’s not a Constitutional rule, it’s a Senate rule,” Moore told Breitbart News Sunday this weekend on SiriusXM Patriot Channel 125. “The Founding Fathers described when they preferred super majorities on things like vetoes of presidents, overriding a veto, or expelling a member from one of the two houses of Congress or passing a Constitutional amendment. They have a super majority rule which is simply a rule of anything over a majority which is one over half. It’s not in the Constitution. Quite frankly, it’s unconstitutional. And it’s preventing many bills from going through the Senate. They can’t even get to the floor because of the filibuster rule. A filibuster is different. That’s when you protest bills and speak against them. They can have ways to get that restricted but they can’t put a 60-vote rule and cling to that and say that’s what the Constitution says—it isn’t.”
Strange’s campaign has refused opportunities to appear on Breitbart News radio on SiriusXM Patriot Channel.
The fact that Strange is on this letter working against one of the key objectives of President Trump, alongside other anti-Trump Republicans like McCain and Flake, is problematic for the man temporarily appointed to Sessions’ seat. The circumstances under which Strange was appointed—he was the state attorney general investigating then-Gov. Robert Bentley for a scandal that later forced the governor to resign after he pushed Strange into the U.S. Senate for the temporary slot—are also problematic for the establishment-backed senator.
Meanwhile, an organization aligned with McConnell—Senate Leadership Fund—has been pummeling conservatives in Alabama with false attack ads, going after Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) in the first round of voting and also Moore. Brooks did not make it into the runoff with Moore.
Moore ended up outperforming his polling numbers as Strange—despite backing from McConnell and support from an endorsement from Trump —struggled in the first round of voting. Now, two recent polls show Strange lagging significantly behind Moore heading into the Sept. 26 runoff as Moore consolidates majority support and Strange slips far behind in the low 30s.
A poll from JMC Analytics out this past weekend found Moore at 51 percent, a commanding lead over Strange’s lackluster 32 percent–with 17 percent undecided. Now, a new poll from Decision Desk HQ/Opinion Savvy confirms the trend: It has Moore at 50.3 percent while Strange is back at 32.2 percent.
BREAKING DDHQ/@Opinion_Savvy poll of Alabama GOP Senate Runoff race.
— Decision Desk HQ (@DecisionDeskHQ) August 23, 2017
The survey of 494 respondents with a margin of error of 4.4 percent is a crushing blow to Strange, whom Decision Desk HQ writes has an “underwater” approval rating too.
“The candidates are far apart on favorability,” Decision Desk HQ’s Brandon Finnigan wrote. He went on:
Senator Strange is underwater, with 39.9% viewing him favorably and 45.9% unfavorably. He’s above water among evangelicals and very conservative voters (groups he nevertheless loses in the horse race) and residents of Mobile, the only region where he leads Moore. Meanwhile, a majority of Republican voters, 54.3%, view Moore favorably, while barely a third, 33.5%, view him unfavorably. He’s markedly underwater among only three groups: moderates, liberals, and non-evangelicals. African-Americans and 30-44-year olds barely disapprove. We are just under five weeks away from the runoff, and Moore is clearly in the driver’s seat. Senator Strange has a massive fundraising edge, but he will need to improve his image- and bring down Moore’s- to overcome his current deficit.
But, Strange, when asked about the JMC Analytics poll–before the new Decision Desk HQ poll confirmed the trend of his campaign falling apart–told a local news outlet that he thinks the “poll is a bogus poll. Believe me the polls are very close.”
Strange falsely claimed, as evidenced by the Decision Desk HQ poll backing up the JMC Analytics poll, that he and Moore are within three or four points of each other. “It will really come down to turnout,” Strange said, per a report from the Daily Mountain Eagle in Jasper, Alabama.
What’s more, JMC Analytics correctly predicted the trends in the first round of voting–seeing Moore in first place, Strange in second, and Brooks in third. It caught Brooks’ second wind, too, which was blunted by Trump’s endorsement of Strange in the first round. Trump has not endorsed between Moore and Strange in the second round of voting, and may per White House aides who spoke on condition of anonymity remain neutral this time.
In fact, after the first round of voting, Trump tweeted praise for both Moore and Strange—a sign he may remain neutral between the two candidates heading into the runoff.
Congratulation to Roy Moore and Luther Strange for being the final two and heading into a September runoff in Alabama. Exciting race!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 16, 2017
Trump, however, may be headed to Alabama soon—something that could complicate matters. Doing anything more for Strange when he is in this much trouble could be entirely problematic for Trump and could backfire badly since Alabamians are consolidating behind the solidly pro-Trump Moore. But sources in Alabama and in Washington have told Breitbart News that military personnel in Alabama have been told to prepare for a potential Air Force One visit in the coming weeks. The White House has not answered a request for comment on whether Trump is headed to Alabama soon, or if he plans to do anything at all for Strange anymore. With Strange so far down in the polls, and with Strange standing against the president when it comes to the Senate filibuster, backing Strange any more would be against the president’s best interests.