Former Alabama chief justice Roy Moore, twice removed from his judicial duties, forced a Republican primary runoff Tuesday against U.S. Sen. Luther Strange, an incumbent endorsed by President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the NRA.
Despite millions of dollars in advertising by a super political action committee tied to McConnell, Strange was unable to defeat the firebrand jurist who took losing stands for the public display of the Ten Commandments and against gay marriage. From the Associated Press:
“This is a great victory. The attempt by the silk stocking Washington elitists to control the vote of the people of Alabama has failed,” Moore said at his victory party in downtown Montgomery, with a copy of the Ten Commandments among the decorations.
Strange’s struggles have already raised concerns among sitting GOP members of Congress, even if he ultimately survives.
“It all boils down to who’s best suited to stand with the people of this country — with our president — to make America great again,” Strange said.
The two will meet in a Sept. 26 runoff. The winner will face Democratic nominee Doug Jones, a former U.S. attorney, in a December election.
The Washington Post this morning calls the Alabama results a tribute to Jeff Sessions, who left his seat in the U.S. Senate to become attorney general:
The inability of any candidate to meet the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff is a reminder of just how dominant Sessions was in Alabama politics. He didn’t just win the Republican nomination outright in 2014; he was unopposed in the primary and the general election, a first in state history. Nobody was up to the challenge of running against him.
Andy Miller of Georgia Health News reports that Linda Wiant, the director of the state Medicaid program, has left that position. No explanation was given. A deputy also left her job this week. Given the health care debate that still must be resolved in Washington, the development is an important one.
Confederate statues in Baltimore were removed from their bases overnight, ending a more than a year of indecision, according to the Baltimore Sun. Next: Removing from the grounds of the Maryland state capitol the statue of the U.S. Supreme Court chief justice who wrote the Dred Scott decision in 1857, denying citizenship to black Americans.
In metro Atlanta, the symbolism of Stone Mountain has become an issue in the Democratic race for governor. In Savannah, it’s the Eugene Talmadge Memorial Bridge, one of the great architectural displays on the Georgia coast. On Sept. 5, former mayor Otis Johnson will moderate a discussion in the city to consider deleting the name of the governor, who was a marked foe of integration in Georgia during the ‘30s and ‘40s.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has endorsed Senate President pro tem David Shafer in the GOP contest for lieutenant governor, calling him “an effective, innovative legislator with a solidly conservative record.” Shafer has picked up support from several former lawmakers and state officials — as well as U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. State Sen. Rick Jeffares and state Rep. Geoff Duncan are also in the GOP hunt. No Democrats have yet announced.
An executive order on infrastructure signed by President Donald Trump on Tuesday, overshadowed by the president’s flip-flop on Charlottesville, revokes an Obama-era requirement that projects built with federal aid take rising sea levels into account. Trump has suggested the predicted risks from sea level rise driven by climate change are overblown. Building trade groups had called the Obama order unwieldy.
A statement from U.S. Sen. David Perdue that “half of all immigrant households receive benefits from our social welfare system” is“mostly true,” according to PolitiFact. The Georgia Republican said that was one of the reasons why Congress should pass his legal immigration bill.