ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) — After Roy Moore’s resounding victory over Sen. Luther Strange Tuesday night in Alabama’s GOP Senate primary runoff, the attention now shifts to the Dec. 12 general election between Moore and the Democratic nominee, former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones.
Moore, bolstered by a bevy of conservative outsiders like former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, was able to overcome both President Donald Trump’s endorsement of his opponent and a barrage of outside money spent by a super PAC linked to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in winning Tuesday’s contest.
Jones, who was appointed by Bill Clinton in 1997 to be the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, has the backing of former Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman John Lewis, D-Ga., but faces an uphill battle to win in a state that hasn’t sent a Democrat to the U.S. Senate since 1992. Biden will visit Alabama on Oct. 3 to headline a rally for Jones in Birmingham.
Here’s a look at both candidates’ roads to potential U.S. senator from the state of Alabama.
In his nearly three decades in the public eye, Roy Moore has never been one to shy away from controversy or confrontation.
Moore has gained national attention for his dogged and bombastic defense of Christianity’s role in the American political system.
Moore was twice removed from the Alabama Supreme Court for defying judicial orders.
In 2003, Moore was removed from the Alabama Supreme Court by the Alabama Court of the Judiciary for “willfully and publicly” defying the orders of a United States District Court to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments on display in an Alabama courthouse.
Nearly a decade later, in 2012, Moore was re-elected to the Alabama Supreme Court, only to be suspended in 2016 for ordering Alabama’s probate judges to continue enforcing the state’s ban on same-sex marriages even after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized the practice.
Moore announced his candidacy for the Senate seat once held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in April, and his candidacy thus far indicates he has no desire to temper his controversial rhetoric or beliefs.
In speeches and radio appearances discovered by CNN, Moore has speculated as early as December 2016 that there was a “big question” about whether or not President Barack Obama was a U.S. citizen.
In a speech at an Alabama church this past February, Moore suggested that the 9/11 terrorist attacks may have been the result of the U.S. turning away from God.
Earlier this month, Moore against caused controversy after he appeared to refer to Native Americans and Asians as “reds” and “yellows” in a campaign speech.
Jones, a former staffer for Alabama Sen. Howell Heflin, was nominated by Bill Clinton to be the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama in September 1997 and was confirmed by a voice vote in the U.S. Senate two months later.
During his time as U.S. attorney, the federal investigation into the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing, carried out by four KKK members, that killed four young African-American girls was re-opened.
One of the suspects, Robert Chambliss, had already been convicted of murder in 1977, but the case against two other suspects — Thomas Blanton and Bobby Cherry — was re-opened in 1997, shortly after Jones’ appointment as U.S. attorney.
Blanton was found guilty and convicted in 2001, and a year later, Cherry was found guilty for his involvement in the crime.
Jones was also involved in the prosecution of Eric Rudolph, whose 1998 attack on a Birmingham abortion clinic killed an off-duty police officer. Rudolph was convicted of that crime in 2005, after Jones had left office.
Jones announced his Senate run in May, his first attempt to win public office.
Alabama has not elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate since Richard Shelby in 1992, who did not switch parties to the GOP until 1994, and still holds that seat today.
Following Moore’s victory over Strange, the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and other Democratic groups sent out statements in support of Jones, signaling the potential for Jones to see more national support in the coming days.
“Doug Jones is a man of character and integrity, who is unafraid to stand up for what’s right and has a proven record of independence that will serve Alabama families in the U.S. Senate,” DSCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen wrote in a statement Tuesday night.
“Doug subscribes to the founders’ immortal declaration that all men and women are created equal and as such he has always put people over party,” the DNC statement read, “And he’ll bring that same integrity and tenacity to Washington when Alabamians elect him to serve as their next senator in December’s special election.”
In his own statement following Moore’s victory, Jones said, “The people of Alabama deserve a senator who will put aside partisan rancor and address the real needs facing the people of this state. I understand the importance of bipartisanship.”
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