In a moment in politics that showed money doesn’t always talk, Roy Moore took incumbent Senator Luther Strange’s seat during Alabama’s GOP primary in a major upset. Strange was appointed to the seat when Jeff Sessions became Attorney General earlier this year, and had the full support of the GOP, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump, and a large injection of cash by Republicans to the tune of millions of dollars in campaign funding.
With just under half of precincts reporting, Moore led Strange 57 percent to 43, basically ensuring Moore — with his large conservative evangelical following thanks to his role in the state’s Supreme Court (which he was suspended from indefinitely after defying federal orders on separation of church and state and gay marriage) — was the new Alabama’s new senator. It seemed that the constant Donald Trump name-dropping, including Trump’s profane rally for him last Friday where he infamously told owners that “son of a bitch” NFL protestors should be fired, did little to help Strange’s chances.
The fascinating battle within the GOP gained extra wrinkles thanks to the involvement of Steve Bannon. Once Trump’s right-hand man, Bannon warned the establishment that “a reckoning was coming” as he continued his battle to drain the swamp of McConnell, whom he has clashed with repeatedly. Bannon shared this view with Moore supporters at a rally on Monday night:
“Mitch McConnell and this permanent political class is the most corrupt and incompetent group of individuals in this country. They think you’re a pack of morons. They think you’re nothing but rubes. They have no interest at all in what you have to say, what you have to think or what you want to do”
One voter said she planned on voting for Strange until “God and Steve Bannon” spoke to her and she changed her vote on Tuesday morning.