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MONTGOMERY, AL (ChurchMilitant.com) - In what is being lauded as a populist triumph over the mainstream Republican establishment, Alabama's Roy Moore defeated Luther Strange by ten percentage points in Tuesday's GOP primary.
In his victory speech Tuesday night, Moore said, "I want everybody to understand, that when I talk about God in this campaign, I've never prayed to win this campaign; I've prayed that God's will be done." Moore is set for December's general election for the US Senate.
Moore, a Methodist, has been heralded as a grassroots candidate and a Christian firebrand. While serving as Chief Justice of Alabama's Supreme Court, he was ousted in 2003 for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument. Moore was re-elected as Alabama Chief Justice in 2012. In 2016, Moore openly defied Obergefell v. Hodges, the US Supreme Court decision that legalized so-called same-sex marriage nationwide. When a second removal from the state bench seemed inevitable, Moore resigned from his position in order to run for U.S. Senate.
Moore's opponent, Luther Strange, was backed by the Establishment elite in Washington. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell endorsed Strange. The Senate Leadership Fund, a McConnell-supporting super-PAC, funnelled $9 million to Strange's campaign.
In an unexpected move, even President Trump endorsed Strange, speaking at his rally on Friday. Many Trump supporters in Alabama disagreed with his decision, believing that it contradicts the president's anti-establishment rhetoric.
Strange's losing campaign had a total budget of about $30 million, while Moore's winning campaign only spent about $2.5 million.
Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon gave his support to Moore and spoke at his rally on Monday, as did former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former presidential advisor Sebastian Gorka. (Gorka and Bannon both left the president's staff in August.)
After Moore's victory in the primary was made official Tuesday night, he received a congratulatory phone call from President Trump. Even though Trump had backed losing candidate Strange, he reportedly told Moore, "I look forward to working with you."
Some reports say that when Trump heard of Moore's victory, he furiously blasted the staff members who had told him to support Strange.
Moore's acceptance speech featured a Scripture passage that he had memorized. He quoted Isaiah 40:4-8 from the Bible, proclaiming, "Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain or hill shall be laid low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together." His recitation concluded, "The grass withereth, and the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever."
Moore said in his victory speech that he still supports President Trump. He explained, "Together we can make America great. We can support the President. Don't let anybody in the press think that because he supported my opponent that I do not support him, and support his agenda."