Former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore and Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) emerged Tuesday from a field of nine candidates in Alabama’s U.S. Senate special election Republican primary and will face one another in six weeks for the GOP nod.
The winner of that runoff will face former Clinton U.S. Attorney Doug Jones, who handily won the Democratic Party’s primary by a nearly 40-point margin over business executive and former U.S. Navy officer Robert Kennedy, Jr.
With over 90 percent of the vote counted, Moore was hovering around 40-percent mark, seven points ahead of his runoff opponent Strange.
At his victory party in Montgomery, Moore noted that efforts from outside groups to influence the outcome by giving a boost to Strange did not work.
“The attempt by silk-stockinged Washington elitists to control vote has failed,” Moore said during the opening of his speech to his supporters.
Strange offered only brief remarks at his event in Birmingham and reminded his supporters he had gotten President Donald Trump’s support.
Strange: "Let me thank the president of the United States, Donald Trump. He loves the people of Alabama."
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) August 16, 2017
Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) finished third with 20 percent. Even in defeat, Brooks could still play a role in determining who will be the eventual Republican nominee with an endorsement. But if his remarks from his event in Huntsville were any indication, that endorsement won’t be going to Strange.
“I think Roy Moore is going to be subject to the same kind of viciousness that I saw in the primary,” Brooks said. “And I wish him the best of luck, and I wish the voters the best of luck in trying to ascertain what the truth is because, quite frankly, when you have this scorched-earth carpet bombing type of approach, it is often difficult to discern the true state of affairs.”
— Stephon Dingle WLKY (@Stephon_Dingle) August 16, 2017
Moore exceeded the expectations of the pollsters. According to the Real Clear Politics polling average, Moore had a 3.8 percent lead over Strange, but Moore nearly doubled that margin of victory in the primary.
Given those results, Moore looks to be the strong favorite in the runoff on September 6.
“If we had the runoff tomorrow, Judge Moore would win,” retired Athens State political science professor Dr. Jess Brown said to Huntsville, AL CBS affiliate WHNT. “I think actually Moore is in the driver’s seat, but ‘Big’ Luther has big money and big researchers and big pollsters and all the other resources for contemporary campaigns.”
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor