Alabama Republican Roy Moore, a former judge who defiantly opposed gay marriage and defended the public display of the Ten Commandments, has jumped into the race for a U.S. Senate seat he lost under a cloud of accusations to a Democrat two years ago.
Looking forward, Republicans are indicating their displeasure at the prospect of Roy Moore, 72, running a second time for an open Senate seat in Alabama.
Moore repeatedly denied he ever made unwanted sexual advances to teenage girls, chalking up the accusations to "dirty politics". I believe we've got to have politicians that go to Washington and do what they say, ' Moore said during his announcement.
"That's why there's such opposition", Moore said from an event in Montgomery, Alabama.
In announcing his candidacy, Moore on Thursday defied national GOP leaders eager to keep him out of the contest after his narrow defeat in 2017 to Sen.
Actually, I think that if Moore is the Republican nominee, he will win this time.
The most intriguing possibility is Jeff Sessions, who vacated the seat Jones snatched for the Democrats.
"He can do what he wants to, but we're certainly going to oppose him in every way", the Kentucky Republican said. "This place has enough creepy old men", said Sen.
Moore brushed aside that criticism Thursday, arguing he could indeed win.
A crowded Republican primary field is competing to challenge Jones.
Moore, a former Alabama judge who was credibly accused of sexual harassment as well as having inappropriate relationships with girls under the age 18, announced Thursday that he will be running in the 2020 election.
At least three other Alabama Republicans are running for the seat.
Republicans now hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate after extending the majority in the 2018 midterms.
Moore also referenced the disinformation campaign that was funded by billionaire LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman in favor of Jones and against Moore.
"If he were to be nominated or were to win that race, I don't think it would help the president", Shelby said.
Despite Shelby's hope that Sessions might run for his old Senate seat, other Republicans said he was happy to be on the political sidelines after a rocky tenure as attorney general on the receiving end of Trump's criticism for his handling of the Russian Federation investigation.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee, whom Moore specifically blamed during his announcement as plotting a "smear campaign" against him, re-upped the statement that NRSC Chairman Todd Young, R-Ind., issued last month and reiterated that "the people of Alabama rejected Roy Moore not too long ago".
Jones had a 22,000-vote victory margin over Moore in 2017.
Democrats need a net gain of three seats in 2020 to win a majority in the 100-seat Senate, a task made easier if Jones can hang onto his seat in a state that Trump won in 2016 by almost 30 percentage points.
But he still enjoys a base of support in the deeply Republican state, particularly among evangelical voters. "Based on the allegations I'd stay away from that but hey I'm new to this", Trump Jr. tweeted. U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville and legislator Arnold Mooney have already announced bids. And if Moore wins it's possible we'll see a rematch between him and Jones.
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