Alabama voters are rejecting GOP orders and millions of dollars in negative ads from Washington to permanently choose Sen. Luther Strange to replace former Sen. Jeff Sessions, instead swinging behind a plain-speaking judge who wants to bring God and morality to the nation's capital.
"Alabama voters don't appreciate it. They don't want Washington controlling who is their senator. And I think they've made a very, very bad miscalculation in this case," said Roy Moore, the former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.
View @trafalgar_group #ALSen #Poll press release & report of @mobrooksforsen 20% @TeamMoore 35% & @lutherstrange 23% https://t.co/sxnxrVwJm7 pic.twitter.com/GXZS464axw— Robert C. Cahaly (@RobertCahaly) August 11, 2017
"We generally run on our credentials and what we're going to accomplish and what we've done. They run on what they say and never do anything. And they run to cut you down and they criticize you falsely they put out stuff that would make you wonder who you are, you never heard of such like that. Well, the people of Alabama don't appreciate it, and we will see how it comes out on Tuesday and they'll get another lesson in Alabama politics," said Moore, who holds a strong lead in the election that is expected to result in a runoff.
Moore has been savaged by the GOP political establishment. Political groups tied to leaders including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have pushed Alabama voters to pick Strange, installed after Sessions became attorney general. And President Trump tweeted support for Strange.
The result: A new poll shows Alabama voters strongly backing Moore in the Tuesday primary, 35 percent to 23 percent for Strange and 20 percent for Rep. Mo Brooks.
"It hasn't caused my numbers to go down," Moore told Secrets of Trump's tweeted support for Strange. "The thing about it is that the people of Alabama are tired of Washington trying to control this election and they're doing something about it, they're reacting. And they're going to lose because they tried to do something they shouldn't have tried to do," he added.
"It's very obvious that Washington is trying to control the election. They take a person who was appointed up there and make him an incumbent they they put $10 million behind him. People know it. They start dirty ads, negative campaigns, attack ads, which is all they know how to do. It's a very unethical thing and people don't like it. They need to be sent a lesson and I think they are going to be sent a lesson on Tuesday," added Moore.
The former judge is known nationally for fighting losing battles to keep a monument to the 10 Commandments in the Alabama Judicial Building and same sex marriage. The 70-year-old judge stepped down from the court in April.
His strong views have won endorsements from Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson and TV's Chuck Norris.
Asked about his fight for the 10 Commandments, he said, "It's not a [bad] thing to be connected to I think. We could use a little more morality in our country."
Especially in Washington, he added. "They're afraid to say ‘God' and the point is our foundation is established on the knowledge of God. Without God there is no standard of right or wrong except what's made on the Supreme Court, and they're not doing too well right now," said Moore.
He said that having faith is part of returning prosperity to the country, telling Secrets, "Prosperity is simple. You just go back to what made us prosperous. That was the free enterprise system, the knowledge of God, gave us life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and the government is there to secure us. You stop acknowledging God and you start losing your life, you start losing your liberty, and you're not happy like you should be."
He opposes Obamacare, supports Trump's efforts to end illegal immigration and is a fan of Sessions. "I like what Jeff's doing, I think he's a good attorney general," said Moore.
Senator Luther Strange has done a great job representing the people of the Great State of Alabama. He has my complete and total endorsement!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 9, 2017
He also opposes the Washington political machine that backs incumbents no matter what, often with a barrage of negative ads.
"The problem is both parties are doing the same thing. Both parties have funds to support their incumbents. Both parties are fighting to keep those incumbents in office. And people trying to run for office have to contend with lots of money up in Washington, D.C. to get there," he said, pointing a finger to groups linked to McConnell funding negative ads.
Moore, who plans to continue a tradition of riding his horse to vote, called on McConnell and the GOP to end the negative ads in the race, something unlikely to happen now that a pro-Trump PAC is readying a last-minute effort to help Strange.
"What would I like to have happen? I'd like [McConnell] to stop negative ads attacking me, my family and my foundation. That would be a nice starter. You know, Washington's no different than Alabama. They both got two legs. I don't call them names. I don't negatively advertise against my opponents. I don't criticize my opponents, and well I could, it's just not my style. We have higher ethics here in Alabama than they do in Washington, evidently," he said.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at email@example.com