MONTGOMERY, Ala (EETV): The race to fill the Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions continues to heat up as Republican candidates Roy Moore and Luther Strange fight to earn votes before Tuesday’s Republican runoff election.
Strange, the appointed incumbent, has been endorsed by President Donald Trump and many establishment Republicans including Sen. Mitch McConnell and Sen. Richard Shelby. Strange, Alabama’s former Attorney General, was appointed by former Gov. Robert Bentley who Strange’s office was tasked with investigating at the time.
Moore, Alabama’s former Chief Justice, has been endorsed by many conservative leaders including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson and Rep. Mark Meadows. Moore has a long history in Alabama politics, having been removed from the Chief Justice bench twice for violating judicial rules.
The election has put a spotlight on the traditionally-Republican state of Alabama as Moore and Strange trade jabs, representing the division seen between the conservative and establishment wings of the Republican Party.
“It might actually speak to the disconnect between like what’s happening in states and the federal government,” says Dr. Bridgett King, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Auburn University.
King says that because this is just one out of over 500 congressional seats, she is not completely sure how the results of Tuesday’s election will impact the Republicans in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections, and that it might depend on other factors at play.
“I’m not entirely sure if depending on sort of the partisan makeup and what candidate makes it on the ballots in all the other races that are going to happen, if what happens tomorrow is really going to be sort of this watershed moment for the Republican Party and actually sort of dictate what happens in 2018,” said King.
The media attention and spending on this race, unusual for Alabama, has not gone unnoticed to state Republican Party officials including Chairwoman Terry Lathan.
“There is a lot of attention on our state, which I love, because it gives us the opportunity to talk about conservative values and conservative principals,” said Lathan.
Despite the media attention, voter turnout for runoff races is traditionally low. Polls across the state will be open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and residents can go to www.alabamavotes.gov or call 1-800-274-8683 to get voting information.
The winner of Tuesday’s runoff will face Democratic nominee and former United States Attorney Doug Jones in the December general election.