The Alabama Republican runoff for U.S. Senate has evolved into more than a race between Judge Roy Moore and Sen. Luther Strange. It’s also a test of influence between President Trump and his former strategist, Steve Bannon.
The runoff election between Moore and Strange will take place Tuesday.
Vice President Mike Pence and President Trump both campaigned for Strange in Alabama this week, while Bannon spoke at a Moore rally in Fairhope, Alabama Monday night.
Taking the stage before an enthusiastic audience, Bannon said Alabama can show the world “that this populist, nationalist, conservative movement is on the rise.”
“A vote for Roy Moore is a vote for Donald J. Trump,” he told the crowd. If the statement appears confusing it’s because it is. Trump has repeatedly pushed for Strange now for months.
Pointing to the millions of dollars in negative advertising funded by Republican “elites” who are allied with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Bannon told Fox News’ “Hannity” on Monday night: “This election is $30 million being spent by Mitch McConnell and that crew of corrupt and incompetent politicians and consultants. They raised $30 million in outside money to destroy Judge Moore.”
Bannon further noted that conservative radio hosts Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, and Michael Savage have all voiced their support of Moore. Hannity added the he too supports Moore. Dennis Michael Lynch pointed out Tuesday morning that all of these conservatives originally pushed for Rep. Brooks. Thus, Moore is their is second pick and thus, Trump’s endorsement of Strange even stranger. So too is Bannon’s comment about a vote for Moore is a vote for Trump. At least for now, anyway.
Speaking to Sean Hannity from Alabama during the interview, Bannon said he was not there to defy Trump, but rather, to support his agenda.
During the rally, Moore rightly observed, “All of Washington is watching to see what Alabama does tomorrow.”
Strange, Alabama’s former attorney general, was appointed to the seat previously held by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in February. Moore is the state of Alabama’s chief justice but was twice removed from that office because he stood up for the public display of the Ten Commandments and spoke out against gay marriage.
Propelled by his support from evangelical voters, Moore led Strange by about 25,000 votes in the August primary, and runoff polls have shown him either leading or in a dead heat with Strange.
After hosting a rally in Huntsville for Strange on Friday, President Trump continued his efforts on Monday, calling a popular Alabama radio show to campaign for the candidate. He predicted that Moore, whom he mistakenly called “Ray,” would have a “hard time” in the December election against Democrat Doug Jones.
Luther Strange has been shooting up in the Alabama polls since my endorsement. Finish the job – vote today for “Big Luther.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 26, 2017
“Luther Strange is going to be a great senator. He already has, and he has already helped me,” Trump said on the “Rick & Bubba” radio show.
Interestingly, although Trump has endorsed Luther Strange, many in the crowd at the Moore rally wore Trump T-shirts or “Make America Great Again” hats.
In the DMLNews.com poll Tuesday, readers are asked to weigh in on the remarks by Bannon and Hannity, that a vote for Moore is a vote for Trump. Take poll, see results, click here.
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