Former judge Roy Moore won the Republican nomination on Tuesday evening in the Alabama special election to fill the Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, defeating the Trump-endorsed former state attorney general Luther Strange.
Moore is an insurgent candidate who was removed from the Alabama Supreme Court in 2003 after refusing to move a monument to the Ten Commandments from the state judicial building.
The Associate Press called the race for Moore just before 9:30 p.m. EDT. Decision Desk HQ projected earlier in the night that Moore would win.
Moore’s opponent, Luther Strange, aside from President Trump’s endorsement, had benefited from millions of dollars in spending from political groups aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Neither were sufficient to put him over the top.
The outcome isn’t entirely surprising, however. In the run-up to the race, Strange, who was temporarily appointed to the Senate seat in February by then-Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, had trailed in the polls, lagging behind his challenger.
Earlier on Tuesday, Trump had tweeted: “ALABAMA, get out and vote for Luther Strange.” The president seemed acutely aware that his ability to play kingmaker was on the line. Trump claimed on Tuesday that “Strange has been shooting up in the Alabama polls since my endorsement,” though it is unclear what polls he was referring to.