Winner Declared In Southern GOP Race

September 27, 2017Sep 27, 2017

Conservatives just had a big victory in Alabama. On Tuesday night, in Alabama's GOP Senate primary runoff, Roy Moore was declared one step closer to the United States Senate. This anti-establishment conservative, who was recently deemed a "culture warrior" by NPR News, will give Republican leaders major headaches should he win the general election in December.

For more than two decades Moore has been in the public eye as the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. During this time, he hasn't been a stranger to public political controversy. Most notably, he is known for publicly expressing his religious beliefs and conviction that faith, rather than being hidden away like a private hobby, should be integrated into public life. Even in the Republican Party, political figures who are uncompromisingly Christian are becoming altogether rare, making Moore's victory all the more exciting for Christian conservatives in Alabama. 

Now, Moore has to defeat Democrat Doug Jones, who is a former U.S. attorney. Republican leadership is warning that a Moore victory in the primary may prove to be more difficult for the Republican Party come 2018. This is because moderates tend to find Moore too extreme, causing establishment Republicans like Mitch McConnell to back Moore's primary opponent, Senator Luther Strange. And establishment Republicans aren't the only ones to find him a bit too extreme. Democrats find him even more troubling, especially on social issues, particularly on the issue of religion in public life. 

So who is Roy Moore, the man who will probably be Alabama's next senator? Moore gained his nickname, "The Ten Commandments Judge," even before he was brought to the Alabama Supreme Court, after he refused to take down a hand-carved plaque of the Ten Commandments hanging behind his bench. During this time, he was the Etowah Country circuit court judge. 

According to NPR, the American Civil Liberties Union once sued Moore over the plaque and also another issue: Moore's habit of opening sessions with prayer. The ACLU claimed this was unconstitutional, a violation of church and state. Eventually, the case was dismissed, but Moore's profile was escalated. 

After being elected to the Alabama Supreme Court, Moore took his public support of the Ten Commandments even further by designing a two-and-a-half ton granite monument of the Ten Commandments to be placed in front of the court. Of course, a federal lawsuit was filed a result, and the monument was deemed unconstitutional. But Moore didn't regret his actions and continued to contend that he did not violate his judicial oath. 

"I cannot forsake my conscience. I will not neglect my duty. And I will never, never deny the God upon whom our laws and our country depend," he said, according to NPR. 

Although Trump endorsed Moore's establishment opponent, the Alabama Republican didn't run against President Trump, but rather against Mitch McConnell and the GOP establishment, according to CNN. By the end of the campaign, Moore was campaigning on a pledge to oust McConnell as Senate majority leader. Trump's former political adviser, Steve Bannon, is a strong supporter of Moore, and has spent weeks urging conservatives to rally behind him.

Trump's former political adviser, Steve Bannon, is a strong supporter of Moore, and has spent weeks urging conservatives to rally behind him. 

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