Roy Moore, who lost the Alabama Senate seat to Democrat Doug Jones last year, announced today that he will run again for that seat. Moore’s campaign was derailed by allegations that he dated teenage girls back in the 1970s and assaulted one of them.
Moore’s entry will not make President Trump happy. A few weeks ago, Trump tweeted:
Republicans cannot allow themselves to again lose the Senate seat in the Great State of Alabama. This time it will be for Six Years, not just Two. I have NOTHING against Roy Moore, and unlike many other Republican leaders, wanted him to win. But he didn’t, and probably won’t…
Actually, I think that if Moore is the Republican nominee, he will win this time. Unlike the special election in 2018, the 2020 election will likely produce a massive turnout by Republican voters eager to cast their vote for Trump. This will swell Moore’s vote total.
Moreover, Doug Jones has exposed himself as a pretty reliable vote for Chuck Schumer and the Democrats. He will be less persuasive posing as a moderate than when he beat Moore in the special election.
Given the closeness of the special election — Jones won by 22,000 votes, 50 percent to 48.3 percent –the factors cited above cause me to believe that Moore would probably flip this result. There’s also the fact that a recent Mason-Dixon poll found Moore with a net favorable rating among Alabamans. 34 percent of voters view him favorably, 29 percent view him unfavorably.
The fact remains, however, that any credible Alabama Republican is more likely than Moore to defeat Jones. Moore would probably win; other leading contenders would almost certainly win.
Thus, Moore’s candidacy does create risk for Republicans. Another problem I have with his candidacy is that Moore does not believe strongly in the rule of law.
The announced Republican candidates, in addition to Moore, include former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville, U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, Alabama State Rep. Arnold Mooney, and former television evangelist Stanley Adair. Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill is another possibility. He says he’ll decide whether to run next week.
The most intriguing possibility is Jeff Sessions, who vacated the seat Jones snatched for the Democrats. Sessions reportedly is considering a run.
He would become the instant favorite, I imagine, even though Trump has attacked him relentless — in effect for following ethical rules and behaving like the Attorney General of the United States, rather than like Trump’s personal attorney.
I hope Sessions enters the race. If he doesn’t, I hope Moore loses to one of his Republican opponents. If he doesn’t, I hope Moore defeats Jones.