Roy Moore, an extreme far-right Republican, won Alabama’s GOP primary on Tuesday, defeating Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) who benefited from both President Trump’s endorsement and more than $10 million from the Republican establishment.
The victory by Moore, a political outsider, is also a major loss for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who did his best to keep Moore out of Washington. But the far-right former judge framed his campaign as a rebuke of McConnell, ultimately convincing more Alabama Republicans that the party needs to move away from his leadership.
Moore will face Democrat Doug Jones in a December general election.
Despite their feuds in the past, Trump and McConnell came together in their support for Strange, who was chosen to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Senate seat by Alabama’s governor earlier this year. Instead, the Republican leaders saw another defeat in a year with few GOP successes.
Moore was able to pull out an unlikely victory by touting his religious credentials. Over a decade ago, Moore made a name for himself among evangelicals when a federal court removed him from his position as state Supreme Court chief after he refused to obey an order to remove the Ten Commandments from a judicial building. In 2015, he said he thinks homosexuality should be illegal and then in 2016, he was disciplined for refusing to obey the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling. He has also said American laws are derided from God’s laws and claimed that Sharia law has been implemented in U.S. cities.
Moore is likely to provide powerful opposition to McConnell in Washington at a time when the Majority Leader is already under duress from his party for failing to repeal Obamacare, despite multiple attempts. Earlier Tuesday, McConnell said the Senate would not be voting on the Graham-Cassidy legislation, meaning Trump and many Republicans failed on their campaign promises to replace President Obama’s landmark legislation.