Roy Moore, the former chief justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court who was suspended for refusing to acknowledge same-sex marriage rights, won the Republican senate runoff on Tuesday night. After beating his opponent Senator Luther Strange, a candidate backed by President Trump, Moore advances in the race to fill a senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
According to The New York Times, Moore won 54.6% of the vote. He will go on to face Doug Jones, a former U.S. attorney, in December’s general election. The runoff, though, was particularly heated because both GOP candidates were supported by different factions of the Republican Party. Former White House chief strategist and current Breitbart chairman Steve Bannon supported Moore, using his right-wing website as a propaganda machine for the former judge. Party leaders joined Trump in backing Strange.
To say that Moore, a 70-year-old devout evangelical Christian, is a controversial candidate would be the understatement of the century. While serving as chief justice to the Alabama Supreme Court, Moore led a bigoted crusade against same-sex marriage. But before he viciously attacked LGBTQ rights, Moore refused to remove a tablet depicting the Ten Commandments from the Alabama Judicial Building, which prompted his removal as chief justice for the first time (his refusal to enforce the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision was the second).
As recently as 2005, Moore said he believed that “homosexual conduct” should be illegal and that it was “a violation of the laws of nature.” Moore vehemently opposed Keith Ellison’s congressional seat because he was a Muslim and wrote an op-ed entitled, “Muslim Ellison Should Not Sit In Congress.”
While Alabama has long been considered a Republican stronghold, Jones seems to think he has a chance. “I think we’re going to win this race,” Jones told reporters at his campaign headquarters in Birmingham, AL, on Tuesday night. “We have the wind at our back. We believe we have the issues people care about which you have not heard any discussions about. People are concerned about health care and the economy. People want to see this state moving forward. I believe that we can do that.”