Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore taunted his opponents running for the Senate in Alabama last week, saying they were “fighting for second place.”
No public polls of the Senate primary have been released, but AL.com reports internal polls put Moore ahead of Rep. Mo Brooks and Sen. Luther Strange in a tight three-way race ahead of six other candidates running for the seat.
Counting on President Trump’s popularity in Alabama, Brooks and Strange have released ads bitterly contesting which one of them is the greater ally of Trump’s agenda. Brooks promised earlier in July to “read the King James Bible” on the Senate floor to filibuster any spending bill that doesn’t fund Trump’s border wall.
Brooks has had to shore up his Trump bona fides as a result of criticizing him during the presidential campaign for “serial adultery.” Still, Brooks is seen as having more White House support than the more establishment Strange. A recent Strange ad touted “Big Luther Supporting the Trump Agenda,” and also focused on Trump’s plan to build a border wall and other anti-immigrant measures.
Moore has mostly stayed out of that fight, and has emphasized his history on the state’s Supreme Court as his conservative credentials.
He was removed as chief justice first in 2003 for disobeying a federal judge’s order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the courthouse.
He was elected chief justice again in 2012 and suspended in 2016 for attempting to deny marriage licenses to gay couples after the U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing same-sex marriage.
Southern Poverty Law Center President Richard Cohen, whose complaint led to Moore being removed, called him the “Ayatollah of Alabama” for his combining of religion and law.
In the Aug. 15 Republican primary, a candidate would need to garner at least 50 percent of the vote in order to end the primary process. Otherwise, the top two candidates will go on to a September 26 runoff vote. Since Alabama is a deep red state, it is likely that the winner of the Republican nomination will go on to become Alabama’s newest Senator, filling the seat left open by Jeff Sessions departure.