“There are communities under Sharia law right now in our country.”
— Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore (R), quoted by Vox.
First Read: “If Roy Moore is victorious tonight – and if he wins the general in December – that will only strengthen the Steve Bannon/Breitbart/Nigel Farage forces in future GOP primaries. Think Arizona (where Sen. Jeff Flake is incredibly vulnerable), Nevada (ditto Sen. Dean Heller) and even Colorado (where Rep. Mike Coffman has dared Tom Tancredo to primary him).”
President Trump called into Alabama radio hosts “Rick and Bubba” this morning and warned that “Ray” Moore would open the state’s U.S. Senate seat to Democrats, the Birmingham News reports.
Said Trump: “Luther Strange is going to be a great Senator. He loves Alabama, he loves the state and he loves the country. He will absolutely win against the Democrat. Ray will have a hard time. If Luther wins, the Democrats will hardly fight. If Ray wins (Democrats) will pour in $30 million.”
When host Rick Burgess clarified that Moore’s first name was Roy and not Ray, Trump came back with why it’s “not a good sign” when the president doesn’t know your name.
“Roy Moore would be the Todd Akin of 2017 and 2018 for every Republican on the ballot. Republicans will be asked, ‘Do you agree homosexuality should be punished by death, do you believe 9/11 was a result of God’s anger?’ He’ll say outrageous things, the media will play it up, and every Republican will be asked, ‘Do you agree with that?'”
— Karl Rove, quoted by the New York Times, on Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore (R).
“The White House and senior Republicans are deeply worried about Sen. Luther Strange’s chances in Tuesday’s GOP runoff here — even after unleashing the full weight of the party machinery to stop his opponent, flame-throwing conservative Roy Moore,” Politico reports.
“The sheer breadth of the anti-Moore campaign has stunned Alabama’s political class: It includes non-stop TV ads, a meticulously-crafted get-out-the-vote effort, and detailed, oppo-research-filled debate prep sessions for Strange. … Much of the assault has played out on the air. During the final week of the contest, a trifecta of pro-Strange GOP groups — the Senate Leadership Fund, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and National Rifle Association — flooded the state with about $2.5 million in TV and radio ads. Moore was confronting a nearly five-to-one spending deficit on the airwaves.”
The RealClearPolitics polling average shows Moore ahead by nearly eight points, 51% to 43%, ahead of Tuesday’s election.
A new Optimus poll finds Roy Moore (R) leading Sen. Luther Strange (R) in the GOP Senate primary runoff, 55% to 45%.
Key finding: “80% of those surveyed and 86% of primary voters know Trump endorsed Strange, which is up 5% since Tuesday and 15% since last week. Moore has maintained similar leads throughout this period.”
Stephen Bannon is heading to Alabama to rally for Roy Moore (R) on Monday night with Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty,” according to Axios.
“Why it matters: This rally is three days after President Trump, Bannon’s former boss, was in Alabama rallying for Moore’s opponent — Mitch McConnell’s favored candidate Luther Strange. For Bannon to make a rare public appearance in such close proximity to Trump shows how invested he is in this race specifically, and attacking McConnell more generally.”
From a Washington Post report on President Trump campaigning for Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) in Alabama last night:
Strange took the stage just before Trump and proudly put on a red “Make America Great Again” hat. Up in the stands, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan remarked: “I don’t know who this guy is. I’m here for Trump.”
“Are you ready to support our president tonight?” Strange asked. From the stands, a young Trump supporter shouted back: “You suck!”
“I’ll be honest, I might have made a mistake. If Luther doesn’t win they’re not going to say, we picked up 25 points in a short period of time. If his opponent wins, I’m going to be here campaigning like hell for him.”
— President Trump, quoted by the Washington Post, expressing doubts about his endorsement of Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL).
HUD Secretary Ben Carson “issued a statement on Friday supporting Roy Moore’s candidacy for the Republican Senate nomination in Alabama, breaking with President Trump’s endorsement of the establishment-backed incumbent Sen. Luther Strange,” the Washington Post reports.
“The extraordinary endorsement in Tuesday’s primary runoff election comes just hours before Trump is set to arrive in Alabama to campaign for Strange.”
Edward Luce: “At stake in Alabama’s Republican primary election is the loyalty of the president’s base. Are they set on humbling America’s establishment come what may, as Mr Trump originally promised? Or is their allegiance to the president as a person, regardless of what he does? Next week will test the theory of Mr Trump’s base. Alabama is the laboratory.”
“It is a gamble Mr Trump did not have to take. On one side of the Alabama primary is Luther Strange, the sitting senator, whom the Republican establishment convinced Mr Trump to endorse. On the other is Roy Moore, the insurgent challenger, who is vowing to drain the Washington swamp, as Mr Trump earlier did. Mr Moore is backed by Steve Bannon, Mr Trump’s former chief strategist and architect of his 2016 campaign. It has been barely a month since Mr Bannon was ejected from the White House. He is already on an opposing side to the president.”
Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball has an excellent analysis of the race.
The Washington Post runs a must-read profile of Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore (R):
“The central argument of Moore’s campaign is that removing the sovereignty of a Christian God from the functions of government is an act of apostasy, an affront to the biblical savior as well as the Constitution. Among the prices he says this country has paid for denying God’s supremacy: the high murder rate in Chicago, crime on the streets of Washington, child abuse, rape and sodomy. It’s a crisis he hopes to address next year from the floor of the Senate.”
Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore (R) “is racking up endorsements from inside Alabama and around the country for his challenge to GOP Sen. Luther Strange, but one in particular stood out: renowned — and deceased — conservative leader Phyllis Schlafly,” Roll Call reports.
“Schlafly died September 5, 2016 at the age of 92, two months before Donald Trump won the presidential election and four months before Republican Jeff Sessions left his Senate seat in order to become attorney general, yet she was included on the endorsements page of Moore’s campaign website.”