Roy Moore runs for Senate again in Alabama after losing amid sexual misconduct scandal

Donald Trump says former Alabama justice 'cannot win' after losing to a Democrat during special election in 2017

Chris Riotta
New York
Thursday 20 June 2019 21:15 BST
Roy Moore, a hard-right Republican defeated by Democrat Doug Jones in the 2017 special election in Alabama, has announced another run for the US Senate.
Roy Moore, a hard-right Republican defeated by Democrat Doug Jones in the 2017 special election in Alabama, has announced another run for the US Senate. (AFP/Getty Images)

Roy Moore has announced he will run for US Senate in Alabama once again, after losing a special election in 2017 amid numerous allegations of sexual misconduct with teenagers from decades ago.

The hard-right Republican announced his campaign on Thursday, seeking an eventual rematch against Doug Jones, the Democrat who narrowly defeated him in the past election.

His decision arrived after some of the most influential politicians in his own party called on him to stay out of the race, with Donald Trump even going so far as to say he “cannot win” after losing to a Democrat.

Mr Moore, a former Alabama chief justice, now joins a crowded GOP primary field vying to challenge the Democratic incumbent.

The former justice has a following among evangelical voters after defying federal court orders regarding same-sex marriage and the public display of the Ten Commandments.

“I believe in America. I believe we’ve got to have politicians that go to Washington and do what they say,” Mr Moore said during his announcement.

Some state and national Republicans, worried that Mr Moore’s too polarising and could risk what should otherwise be a reliable GOP seat, have discouraged him from entering the race.

Republicans see retaking the Alabama seat as a top priority in 2020.

Mr Trump tweeted last month that Republicans need to retake the seat in the once reliably red state, writing, “Republicans cannot allow themselves to again lose the Senate seat in the Great State of Alabama.”

“I have NOTHING against Roy Moore,” the president added, but warned that “Roy Moore cannot win.”

Mr Moore brushed aside that criticism Thursday, saying, “Can I win? Yes I can win.”

He added establishment Republicans don’t want him in the Senate.

Congressman Bradley Byrne, former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville and state legislator Arnold Mooney have already announced GOP primary bids.

During the 2017 race, six women accused Mr Moore of pursuing romantic or sexual relationships with them when they were teenagers as young as 14 and he was an assistant district attorney in his 30s. Two accused him of assault or molestation.

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Mr Moore has denied the accusations and said he considered his 2017 defeat, when he lost to Mr Jones by 22,000 votes out of 1.3 million cast, “a fraud.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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