L to R: Doug Jones and Roy Moore
A chart showing voting by precinct in Greene County
Former Alabama Supreme Court Justice, Roy Moore, defeated appointed U. S. Senator, Luther Strange, in yesterday’s Republican primary runoff election. Moore will face Doug Jones, the Democratic candidate, nominated in the August first primary, in a Special General Election on Tuesday, December 12, 2017, which is 76 days from today.
Statewide unofficial returns show Moore with 247,553 (54%) and Strange with 203,435 (45%). In Greene County, Moore received 168 (57.3%) to 125 (42.7%) for Strange. . Statewide the turnout was 15%. This is part of a special election process to fill the U. S. Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions when he became U. S. Attorney General.
Moore has twice been removed, by the State Ethics Commission, from his position as Alabama Chief Justice. The first time for moving a two ton monument to the Ten Commandments into the vestibule of the Supreme Court building. The second time was early in 2016, when he instructed Alabama Probate Judges not to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples, in violation of a U. S. Supreme Court decision, which ruled such laws unconstitutional.
President Trump endorsed Luther Strange in the race and tweeted support for him on multiple occasions. As polls showed Strange in danger of losing, Trump visited Alabama to campaign at a rally in Huntsville attended by more than 7,000 people. At that rally, Trump said that he may have been mistaken in endorsing Strange and would support and campaign for Roy Moore if he was successful in the runoff. National TV reported this morning that Trump had deleted his tweets for Strange.
Roy Moore, propelled by evangelical voters, consolidated support from a number of anti-establishment forces, including the pro-Trump Great America Alliance and former White House strategist Steve Bannon, who spoke for Moore at a Monday rally in Fairhope, Alabama. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, in a rally for Moore last week, said the judge was a better match for Trump’s “movement.” At the Fairhope rally, Moore reached in his pocket and pulled out a pistol saying, “ I fully support the Second Amendment to the U. S. Constitution and I am not afraid to show it.”
Democratic nominee Doug Jones issued a statement on Tuesday night saying: “Even though I was not on the ballot today, our campaign has been building momentum for weeks with hundreds of volunteers signing up to join our effort, Republicans reaching out to us throughout the state, and our campaign just finishing our strongest week of fundraising. We started our general election campaign more than a month ago and are seeing increased energy moving toward December 12.”
Jones who served as U. S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, prosecuted and convicted two of the Klansmen that were involved in the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing of four young girls in 1963. He has also represented progressive organizations and causes as a Birmingham attorney.
Political observers in Alabama predict a close race between Doug Jones and Roy Moore. Jones has solid support from Black voters and will be campaigning for votes from whites, who may be embarrassed to have Roy Moore, with his ultra-right wing views, representing them in the U. S. Senate.
Emerson College conducted a poll in mid-September 2017, suggesting that Roy Moore would win the runoff. In the same poll, Republican voters were asked their choice in a General Election against Doug Jones. The poll showed, regardless of who wins the divisive GOP nomination it appears Democrat Doug Jones will start in a competitive position for the General election as he trails Strange 40% to 43%, and Moore 40% to 44%, well within the polls 4.8% margin of error.
The GOP primary may have left supporters of both candidates unwilling at this time to support their party rival. Of those voting for Moore in the primary, 25% said they would vote for Jones and 49% said they would vote for Strange in the General. Similarly, Strange supporters found 31% voting for Jones and 34% voting for Moore. The GOP will need to find a way to unite during the weeks until the General Election, or face the prospect of Jones pulling off an upset. If Jones were to win, Alabama could send their first Democrat to the U.S. Senate in over 20 years.
The Alabama Secretary of State’s office advises that you can register to vote for the December 12 General Election starting today until November 27, fifteen days before the election. Absentee ballot applications will be available, 45 days before the election, which is October 28, a Saturday, or no later than Monday, October 30.