‘He’s doing a disservice to all conservatives across the country…’
(AFP) Controversial former Alabama chief justice Roy Moore, whose scandal-plagued campaign turned a solid-red Senate seat blue after the appointment of Jeff Sessions as attorney general announced Thursday he will run for Senate again next year.
Moore is seeking to overcome an embarrassing previous loss in the heavily Republican southern state following accusations of sexual misconduct but will likely face considerable challenges this time from within his own party after his flawed run turning one of the country’s most reliably Republican seats in favor of Democrat Doug Jones.
The 72-year-old Moore, who was twice removed as a judge and drew a pistol from his jeans during a 2017 campaign rally to highlight his support for gun rights, said he was running again in part to vindicate himself after the “false information” put forward by Democrats desperate to sink his candidacy two years ago.
“Yes, I will run for the United States Senate in 2020,” Moore told reporters in the state capital of Montgomery.
“Can I win? Yes, I can win. They know I can, that’s why there’s so much opposition.”
Moore’s narrow loss in a special election in late 2017 to Jones marked a humiliation for President Donald Trump, who had backed the tainted Republican despite the accusations against him.
During the race, Moore faced a series of shock allegations by several women who said he assaulted, molested or pursued them when they were teenagers, including sexually touching one who was 14 years old at the time.
Moore, who acknowledged contact with the women but denied their accusations, said that current Senate Republicans were mounting a “smear campaign” against him.
“Why’s there such a fear? Why’s there such anger?” Moore asked.
“Is it because I believe in God, in marriage, morality in our country? Is it because I believe in the right of the baby in the womb to have a life?”
Trump has already weighed in on a prospective Moore candidacy, tweeting last month that he believed Moore would lose if he ran again.
On Thursday, it was up to presidential son Donald Trump Jr. to blast as “fake news” Moore’s assertion that by entering the race he would not be running against Trump in 2020.
“I can assure everyone that by running, Roy Moore is going against my father and he’s doing a disservice to all conservatives across the country,” Trump Jr tweeted after Moore’s announcement.
© Agence France-Presse