A former state judge Roy Moore rolled to a win in Alabama’s Republican primary for U.S. Senate on Tuesday night, defeating appointed Senator Luther Strange, the preferred candidate of both President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Moore is now the front-runner to win the seat in the December 12 general election. He will oppose the Democratic candidate Doug Jones, a former U.S. attorney in Alabama.
“We have to return the knowledge of God and the Constitution of the United States to the United States Congress,” Moore said in his victory speech. “We have become a nation that has distanced ourselves from the very foundation.”
Trump has quickly given his support to Moore: “Congratulations to Roy Moore on his Republican Primary win in Alabama. Luther Strange started way back & ran a good race. Roy, WIN in Dec!”
The win by the controversial former state chief justice, who was twice suspended from his post, is a big victory for the Republican Party’s anti-establishment wing. Supporters demonstrated that they can help mastermind a win even when the man they helped get to the White House wasn’t on their side. Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who gave his support to Moore, championed the runoff as one of the first in his fight to take on the establishment since he left the White House position.