Former Alabama judge Roy Moore has won the state’s Republican Senate runoff, a victory that sends an ominous message to establishment Republicans and hands President Trump his first electoral loss since taking office.
The former state Supreme Court justice’s reputation as a conservative firebrand won him the enthusiasm of the party grassroots, even as Strange and his allies outspent him by a staggering margin. Moore stormed ahead to what appears to be a convincing win thanks to that support—he was ahead by a margin of 57 percent to 43 percent when the Associated Press called the result at about 9:30 p.m. ET.
Now that the GOP’s insurgent wing has taken its first Republican incumbent scalp, establishment Republicans now have to reckon with what that means for the party’s future.
Moore ran as an unabashed opponent of the Washington establishment and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate passes 0B defense bill Overnight Health Care: New GOP ObamaCare repeal bill gains momentum Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea MORE (R-Ky.), whose allies poured more than $10 million into the race on Strange’s behalf. That message drew support from many high profile anti-establishment forces, including former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon and a handful of House Freedom Caucus members.
But as he took the stage at his victory rally in Montgomery, Moore argued that he’s always been supportive of Trump’s agenda.
“We can make America great, we can support the president. Don’t let anyone in the press think that because he supported my opponent that I do not support him and support his agenda,” he said.
“As long as its constitutional, as long as it advances our society, our culture, our country, I will be supportive.”
Trump’s decision to endorse Strange aligned him with unusual allies, siding with McConnell and the GOP establishment over the insurgent forces that helped drive his presidential campaign. Now, after taking McConnell’s advice, he sits on the losing side of a race for the first time since his election
Strange had hoped that support from the White House would help to push him over the edge. But even as the president doubled down on his endorsement by appearing at a rally last week backing Strange, he appeared uncomfortable being pulled in that direction….