Just 18 months after losing a special election in Alabama, a state President Donald Trump carried by a 62% to 34% landslide, Republican Roy Moore is back and seeking another shot at the Senate.
Moore is hoping to challenge his former opponent, Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL), who bested him by 22,000 votes in December 2017.
In a combative press conference, Moore announced his 2020 candidacy and lambasted the party establishment for trying to block his campaign.
Roy Moore says "never in the history of the nation" has there been such an "outcry of opposition" against somebody getting in a Senate race.
He bashes the @NRSC for trying to keep him out. (Not clear yet if he's in.)
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) June 20, 2019
Moore’s announcement comes despite Trump’s prediction that Moore, an accused serial sexual predator and twice-removed state Supreme Court chief justice, would lose if nominated.
“I have NOTHING against Roy Moore,” Trump tweeted in May, “… [but] if Alabama does not elect a Republican to the Senate in 2020, many of the incredible gains that we have made during my Presidency may be lost, including our Pro-Life victories. Roy Moore cannot win, and the consequences will be devastating […].”
Moore, who rose to national prominence after he illegally displayed a religious monument in his government courtrooms and defied orders to take it down, was most recently suspended from office in 2016 for ethical violations, including a concerted effort to ignore the law to allow discrimination against same-sex couples.
In 2017, he won the state’s Republican nomination to fill the seat left vacant by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R) after Trump made Sessions his first attorney general. Moore defeated appointed Sen. Luther Strange in a Republican primary, despite Trump’s endorsement of Strange.
Over the course of his unsuccessful campaign against Jones, Moore faced nine different allegations of sexual assault or predation. One woman alleged he abused her when she was just 14 years old. Moore denied these allegations and filed defamation suits against his accusers and others.
Later in the campaign, as ThinkProgress first reported, it was revealed that Moore had previously co-authored a textbook that said women shouldn’t run for public office. CNN also unearthed audio of Moore proposing to repeal the constitutional amendments that abolished slavery and gave women the right to vote.
Alabama’s senior senator, Richard Shelby (R) declined to support Moore’s 2017 candidacy. “There’s a time, we call it a tipping point, and I think so many accusations, so many cuts, so many drip, drip, drip, when it got to the 14-year-old story, that was enough for me. I said, I can’t vote for Roy Moore,” he explained.
Trump, by contrast, offered Moore his full-throated support, even after the many allegations of sexual predation became public. He reiterated last month that he had wanted Moore to win that race, though he said it was unlikely to happen this time around.
“… Unlike many other Republican leaders, [I] wanted him to win,” Trump tweeted. “But he didn’t, and probably won’t [this time].”
…If Alabama does not elect a Republican to the Senate in 2020, many of the incredible gains that we have made during my Presidency may be lost, including our Pro-Life victories. Roy Moore cannot win, and the consequences will be devastating….Judges and Supreme Court Justices!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 29, 2019
At least one other prominent Republican — former college football coach Tommy Tuberville — has already announced his candidacy for the GOP nomination. Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R) is also expected to announce next week whether he will run.