In a development that will not come as much of a surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention, former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has defeated interim incumbent Senator Luther Strange in the Alabama Republican primary to fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions when he joined the Trump Administration.
With 27% of precincts in as of the time of this writing, Decision Desk HQ has called the race for Moore, who holds a commanding 20-point lead over Strange, 57% to 43%. The New York Times has also called the race for Moore with similar numbers.
Moore became a national name years ago when he fought against the removal of a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building, up to the point where he chose to lose his job rather than surrender to the secularization of America. Strange, meanwhile, was appointed by Alabama Governor Robert Bentley to hold the Senate seat until the special election — a controversial appointment given that Strange had been the state Attorney General investigating Bentley at the time.
This primary drew national attention as a front in the war between the moderate Republican establishment and the conservative grassroots, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell endorsing and investing heavily in Strange’s campaign, while figures including Steve Bannon, Ann Coulter, Breitbart, and other supporters of President Donald Trump rallied around Moore as a conservative outsider who would stand up to GOP leadership…but not Trump himself, who generated frustration and puzzlement from supporters when he endorsed the man he calls “Big Luther” instead, for reasons that remain unclear. In recent days, Trump has reportedly expressed some buyer’s remorse over his endorsement.
On December 12, Moore will face Democrat nominee Doug Jones in the general election. A recent Emerson College poll found that Moore holds a 20-point lead over Jones.