MONTGOMERY, Ala (EETV) The Republican candidates in Alabama’s special senate runoff election debated in Montgomery for the first time Thursday ahead of next week’s vote. This debate differed from most political debates in that it was hosted ‘Lincoln-Douglas’ style without a traditional moderator.
Incumbent senator and former Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange and former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore discussed several key issues ranging from President Donald Trump to immigration.
Sen. Strange spent much of the debate reiterating his endorsement of many of Trump’s key ideas including immigration and the anger that many voters have of Washington. Strange also emphasized his relationship to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his record fighting the Obama administration as Alabama’s Attorney General.
“I spent six years fighting the Obama administration as the last line of defense of the Constitution and I got results,” said Strange, “we actually stopped illegal immigration, protected our religious liberties, our precious right to life.”
Roy Moore discussed many of the issues that were key themes of his time as Chief Justice including topics ranging from religion, same sex marriage and immigration. Moore also spent a lot of the debate discussing the military, referencing his time at United States Military Academy and as a Vietnam veteran.
“As a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and a Vietnam veteran I want to work our military strong again,” stated Moore, “I want it freed of political correctness and social experimentation like transgender troops in our bathrooms and inclusiveness.”
The debate was not without conflict, as the candidates continued to bash and disagree with each other on issues ranging from Trump’s endorsement of Strange, negative campaign ads and prior careers.
Strange several times during the debate, continued to press Moore on not speaking about specific issues and instead focusing on attacks.
“We can pretty much tell he is just going to attack the whole night and I heard precious little about any issues, actually what he’s accomplished or what he would do,” said Strange.
Moore also challenged Strange on several issues during the debate, especially shedding light on Strange’s former career as a Washington DC lobbyist for several corporations.
“My entire political career has been serving the state of Alabama, my opponent on the other hand has been a professional lobbyist for over 23 years,” said Moore.
Despite the heated rhetoric of the long primary, supporters of both Moore and Strange continue to stand behind their perspective candidates.
“Luther Strange may have lost this election tonight by insulting the great people of the state of Alabama, because there are more people right now that will vote for Judge Moore and support Judge Moore than Luther Strange,” said Moore supporter and former congressional candidate Dean Young.
“Senator Luther Strange is a better fit, if you saw him tonight addressed the issues he wasn't going into stuff that really doesn't have anything to do with what the president and America voted for the president to accomplish,” said Strange supporter and former State Representative Perry Hooper Jr.
The winner of Tuesday’s Republican runoff will face Democratic nominee and former United States Attorney Doug Jones in December’s general election.