On Tuesday, Alabama held its GOP Senate runoff for the special election to fill the remainder of Jeff Sessions’ term, and it was a decisive win for Roy Moore, the former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. With 66 percent of the vote reporting at press time, Moore led appointed Sen. Luther Strange, who had the support of Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, by a wide 56-44 margin. Moore will face Democrat Doug Jones, a former U.S. attorney, in a Dec. 12 general election. Until then, Strange gets to sulk around the Senate in defeat.
If money were all that mattered, things shouldn’t have wound up this way. Strange and his allies had a massive spending advantage over Moore, who enjoyed little outside help. According to the firm Advertising Analytics LLC, Strange and his allies—chief among them the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC close to McConnell—booked $4.7 million in TV time during the six week long runoff campaign, while Moore spent only $1 million.
However, Moore entered the race with a solid base of support among Alabama’s many social conservative voters. The notorious Moore was permanently suspended from the state’s high court last year for defying federal court orders regarding same-sex marriage, which only made him a martyr to his followers. Amazingly, it wasn’t even the first time he’d gotten booted from the bench, though. Moore was also kicked off the court after he refused to comply with a federal judge’s order to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from the grounds of the state Supreme Court, an episode that made earned him national attention—and the adulation of a lot of ardent fans.