Roy Moore, the former Alabama chief justice who was twice removed from office over failure to follow federal court rulings, is the lead candidate in internal polling for his state's U.S. Senate seat, Politico Pro reported.
Politico Pro's Daniel Strauss wrote the internal polling of fellow candidate Mo Brooks, currently a member of Congress, shows Moore leading at 31 percent, with current Sen. Luther Strange at second with 23 percent, according to Alabama Today. Brooks comes in third at 21 percent.
The rest of the field of almost a dozen have less than 5 percent.
Then-Gov. Robert Bentley appointed Strange to the seat vacated when Jeff Sessions was appointed U.S. attorney general by President Donald Trump. But when Bentley was forced to step down earlier this year amid scandal, his replacement, Gov. Kay Ivey, scheduled a special election for August. Bentley was criticized by fellow Republicans for naming Strange, whose state attorney general's office was investigating Bentley on corruption charges.
Moore himself is not without controversy, but has a loyal following in the deep red state. He first rose to national prominence when, as a county circuit judge, he refused to remove a wooden plaque of the Ten Commandments and to cease prayers before his court sessions.
But after a successful race for state chief justice in 2000, Moore kept a vow to install the Commandments at the State Supreme Court. He had a sculptor produce a 5,000-pound granite monument and had it placed in the Supreme Court building's rotunda. His refusal to remove it got him removed from office in 2003, but he won again in 2012.
Moore was suspended in 2016 for refusing to follow the Supreme Court's ruling allowing same-sex marriage. Moore maintained he had the authority to order the state's 67 county probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Moore eventually resigned.
In his current race, Moore "could be an unusually strong obstacle for Strange in an age of unsettled Republican primaries," Strauss wrote at Politico Pro. "Moore is hoping his years of high-profile religious fights on the Alabama Supreme Court will fuel his run more than a high-budget campaign would have."
Moore is being heavily outspent by his two main opponents, but he has won every race to date with far less funding than his competitors.
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