Roy Moore, the former Alabama chief justice who was ousted nearly a decade ago after he refused to remove the Ten Commandments from his courtroom, is close to regaining his old job after a decisive primary win.
Moore beat the current chief justice and a former state attorney general in the Republican vote, and is now considered a shoo-in for victory in the overwhelmingly GOP state in November.
The 65-year-old received slightly more than 50 percent of the votes, eliminating the need to face a run-off election. He will face Democrat Harry Lyon in the general election.
Moore, who was vastly outspent by his two opponents, became a polarizing figure in 2003 when he refused to comply with a federal judge’s order to remove a 2-ton monument that included the commandments from the courthouse rotunda.
After Moore’s victory, he told The Associated Press that he would not attempt to replace the monument but added, “I will always acknowledge God.” He said his win was “a vindication” of his actions in 2003.
He attributed his victory, which came as a surprise because most observers expected none of the three candidates to pass the 50 percent threshold, to Rick Santorum’s success in getting out the conservative vote in the GOP presidential primary.
“Rick Santorum deserves a lot of credit,” Moore said. “It shows that people are interested in the moral issues that face this country.”
Moore won the primary with 282,588 votes, 50.37 percent of the ballots cast. Former state Attorney General Charles Craddick trailed in second with 141,528, and current chief justice Chuck Malone was third with 136,883.
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