We haven’t heard the last of anti-LGBT Alabama jurist Roy Moore: He announced Wednesday that he is running for U.S. Senate.
Moore, who has been removed as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court for his efforts to block marriage equality, made the announcement at the state capitol in Montgomery, reports AL.com, a website for several Alabama newspapers. An ultraconservative Republican, he left no doubt about his ideology.
“I know and I think you do too that the foundations of the fabric of our country are being shaken tremendously,” he said. “Our families are being crippled by divorce and abortion. Our sacred institution of marriage has been destroyed by the [U.S.] Supreme Court. Our rights and liberties are in jeopardy.”
He also said, “I share the vision of President Donald Trump to make America great again.” But first, he added, “we’ve got to make America good again.”
Moore is running in a special election to replace Jeff Sessions, himself a longtime opponent of LGBT rights, who has become Trump’s attorney general. The party primaries will be held August 15, with a runoff, if necessary, set for September 26, and the general election will be December 12.
Fellow Republican Luther Strange, formerly Alabama’s attorney general, is filling Sessions’s position on an interim basis, and he has said he will seek to retain the seat. Other Republicans who have announced they are running are state Rep. Ed Henry and Randy Brinson, president of the Christian Coalition of Alabama, AL.com reports. Those who have said they are considering entering the race include Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, state Sens. Slade Blackwell and Trip Pittman, and former state Rep. Perry Hooper Jr.
Ron Crumpton, who lost the 2016 U.S. Senate race to incumbent Richard Shelby, has said he will seek the Democratic nomination, according to the Alabama Political Reporter. State Rep. Christopher John England and Mobile-based political activist Gary Johnson (not the Gary Johnson who ran for president last year) are weighing whether to enter the Democratic race, according to the site.
While the eventual Republican nominee will be heavily favored in the conservative state, Alabama Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Worley sounded optimistic in speaking with the Alabama Political Reporter. “Democrats in Alabama have an excellent opportunity to fill this Republican-held seat,” she said.
The Alabama Court of the Judiciary last September suspended Moore for the remainder of his term as chief justice after finding him guilty of ethics violations related to his anti–marriage equality actions. He had directed state probate judges, who are in charge of marriage licenses in Alabama, to ignore the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 marriage equality decision. He lost an appeal of the suspension last week, at which time he said he would soon announce his decision on running for Senate or another office. At 70, he is too old, under state law, to seek a spot on the court again.
Moore had been removed as chief justice once before, in 2003, for his refusal to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state Supreme Court building. A federal court found the monument’s presence to be an unconstitutional establishment of religion. Voters returned Moore to the office in 2012. But he has not been successful in seeking other offices, having lost the Republican primary for governor in 2006 and 2010.
He has based his career on far-right positions and outrageous statements about LGBT people. He has said marriage equality will “literally cause the destruction of our country or lead to the destruction of our country over the long run”; that transgender people have a mental disorder; and that actions against opponents of marriage equality are similar to the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany.