The Alabama GOP Senate runoff, now less than one month away, has turned nasty, with incumbent Sen. Luther Strange and front-runner former Judge Roy Moore throwing off the gloves for a bare knuckled brawl.
This week, Strange, appointed to the seat vacated by Attorney Jeff Sessions and backed by the GOP establishment and President Trump, threw the first punch in a blast at Moore as "another hypocritical politician."
During the recent GOP primary, won by the conservative Moore, outside groups led the attack with the blessing of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Now Strange is directing the fire against Moore, famous nationally for fighting to keep a monument to the 10 Commandments in the Alabama Judicial Building and against same sex marriage.
In a note to supporters, Strange even called Moore a Democrat. "Roy Moore has been running for office since he first ran for an Etowah County circuit judge seat in 1982 as a Democrat," said the campaign note.
Moore, who has been promising to join Trump to drain the swamp of career politicians including McConnell, fired back yesterday.
I'm endorsed by the @NRA because I'm not afraid to standup to the liberal elites who threaten our #2A rights. #ALSENhttps://t.co/nw8Ntgkxz5 pic.twitter.com/FMxMmS1yIo— Luther Strange (@lutherstrange) August 29, 2017
In a release, the 70-year-old candidate's campaign said, "The Luther Strange campaign just sent out an email titled ‘Luther Strange Lays Out Alabama's Clear Choice.' Nice title, but as usual they are long on claims and short on truth. They have a habit of manipulating the truth -- a tactic embraced far too often by Luther Strange and his Washington buddies. Honestly, this just reeks of a desperate attempt to hold on to his political appointment at all costs."
Where Strange presented "facts" to attack and rip Moore, Moore countered with the highlights of his life the compared to Strange's.
Number six on his list: "Judge Moore is an outsider loyal only to his God and fellow Alabamians -- Luther is bought and paid for by Washington insiders and elites."
Three recent polls on the September 26 runoff show Moore ahead of Strange and there are rumors that Trump won't weigh in for Strange as he did leading up to the earlier primary.
See the campaign memos are below.
Luther Strange Lays Out Alabama's Clear Choice
"Voters have a clear choice in this election: President Trump's conservative fighter, Luther Strange, who has a record of taking on the swamp, or another hypocritical politician, Roy Moore, who has spent 40 years putting himself and his ambition ahead of Alabamians."
Birmingham, Ala. - Voters have a clear choice in the September 26 Republican primary runoff election. Luther Strange has a record of draining the Montgomery swamp and putting corrupt politicians behind bars. Roy Moore, on the other hand, has spent the last forty years running for political office and putting his own ambitions ahead of Alabamians' well-being.
FACT: As Attorney General, Big Luther created the Special Prosecution Division and successfully convicted corrupt officials - included the Republican State Speaker of the House - who were removed from office and/or jailed.
FACT: Because of his success draining the Montgomery swamp, corrupt politicians tried to shut Big Luther down, gutting the Attorney General's Office (AGO) budget and passing a law that would have given legislators the ability to block specific AGO operations and investigations.
FACT: Big Luther opposes career politicians and supports term limits.
FACT: Roy Moore has been running for office since he first ran for an Etowah County circuit judge seat in 1982 as a Democrat.
FACT: Roy Moore fought for pay increases for politicians while courts had to shut down because of lack of funding.
FACT: Roy Moore has made a career out of profiting off of public service and sticking tax payers with the bill.
Luther Strange is the only candidate in this race that has a record of delivering conservative reform and protecting rule of law. That is why President Donald Trump has endorsed him. He has said Big Luther is "tough on crime and borders," and he knows will be a vital ally for him in his goal to drain the swamp and make America and Alabama great. Roy Moore has a record of putting his own ambitions ahead of what was best for Alabama. Our great state cannot afford another career politician.
Montgomery, AL-The Luther Strange Campaign just sent out an email titled "Luther Strange Lays Out Alabama's Clear Choice." Nice title, but as usual they are long on claims and short on truth. They have a habit of manipulating the truth - a tactic embraced far too often by Luther Strange and his Washington buddies. Honestly, this just wreaks of a desperate attempt to hold on to his political appointment at all costs.
As the Strange Campaign has exhibited over the last 3 months, they have a complete disregard for truth and decency. During the Primary, they spent millions attempting to stain the character and reputation of good men, like Congressman Mo Brooks and Judge Moore, who have faithfully served our country with honor and distinction. And here they go again.
Never has there been a starker contrast of candidates in a race of this magnitude. A race that embodies the conflict our nation began to address last November. Conservative patriots are done with "do nothing Republicans" who promise everything and deliver nothing.
America sent Washington a message in November and they will send them another on September 26th. The people who elected President Trump are rallying behind Judge Moore. Alabama will decide this election, not Washington.
Since Luther Strange refuses to deal in truth, let's compare some of the basic differences between Roy Moore and Luther Strange. The voters do have a clear choice but it's not what Luther wants it to be.
#1 Roy Moore is a West Point graduate and a Vietnam Veteran who served his country in a combat zone - Luther Strange has never served in the military.
#2 When not in public service, Roy Moore has been a small-time rancher and the President of a legal foundation that battled liberal groups like the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center - Luther Strange was swimming in the swamp as a Washington lobbyist.
#3 Roy Moore is a crusader who sacrificed two political jobs because he would not compromise his principles - Luther Strange betrayed his principles and let his greed get to him. He wanted to be a Senator so badly he sacrificed his integrity by taking a Senate appointment from disgraced Governor Robert Bentley, a man he was supposed to be investigating for criminal acts.
#4 Roy Moore raised his campaign money from grass root conservatives - Luther Strange raised all of his campaign money from Washington insiders, Super PAC's and lobbyists.
#5 Roy Moore is endorsed by Dr. James Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family; Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty; Chuck Norris of Walker, Texas Ranger; former Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, and former US Senate candidate Trip Pittman - Luther Strange is endorsed and bank-rolled by Mitch McConnell, the one insider who has single-handedly sunk the Trump agenda to repeal Obamacare and pass meaningful tax reform.
#6 Judge Moore is an outsider loyal only to his God and fellow Alabamians - Luther is bought and paid for by Washington insiders and elites.
#7 Roy Moore is a proven voice for the values and people of Alabama - Luther Strange is a proven yes-man for Mitch McConnell.
Yes, there is a clear choice for Alabama. It is Roy Moore.
It was expected that Luther Strange would resort to fabricating lies about Judge Moore. It is his only path to victory, and his Washington arrogance makes him think that Alabamians will believe whatever he tells them.
The people of Alabama trust Roy Moore because they know exactly where he stands and they've seen him in action. That is exactly why Roy Moore will be our next US Senator.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org