"I'm running to make a difference in Washington," Judge Roy Moore said after winning the first round of the special Alabama GOP primary. "And those in Washington are scared." He's not wrong.
Everyone in D.C. seems to be pulling for Moore's opponent, incumbent Sen. Luther Strange, and in a race that's increasingly about sticking it to Washington, that's an advantage.
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina hopes that Strange "makes it." Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas doesn't think Moore would be a team player. And Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado closed his eyes to the possibility of Moore taking a Senate seat, telling reporters "I'm not even going to speculate."
In a normal race, support from those big names, along with a boatload of cash from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, would help Strange and hurt Moore. But the long and brutal Alabama Senate primary has become a proxy war between the establishment Republicans and an insurgent populist. And so far, Alabama favors the rebel.
Moore, the former Alabama Supreme Court Judge who was kicked off the bench twice, rode to the polls on horseback. Moore, who pulled a pistol out of his wife's purse at a campaign stop, won the first round of the primary by six points. And Moore, who didn't know about the hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants called Dreamers, now enjoys a comfortable lead.
To beat back Moore, according to the RealClearPolitics average, Strange needs to claw back those eight points in the next eight days. The beleaguered incumbent will get some last minute help from the establishment: President Trump will hold a rally for Strange on Saturday.
Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.