• 75°

Republican leaders cheer Moore nomination

Roy Moore solidly defeated Luther Strange Tuesday with nearly 10 percent more of the vote in the Republican runoff of the U.S. Senate election, a result that local Republican leaders lauded.

Shirley Reddoch, president of the Pike County Republican Women, said the election makes a clear statement.

“I absolutely felt like the people from Alabama gave Mitch McConnell and former governor Robert Bentley our opinion last night,” Reddoch said.

One of the major obstacles Strange dealt with over the course of his campaign was the nature of his appointment to the Senate seat. Strange halted the investigation into Bentley’s sex-tinged scandal involving the misuse of state funds just days before the election of President Donald Trump, who had already chosen then-senator Jeff Sessions to serve as U.S. Attorney General if Trump won the race.

Opponents argue that Strange halted the investigation to clear the way for his appointment to fill Sessions’ seat, while Strange says he had no way of knowing Trump would win and that he knew Bentley’s investigation would be handled fairly whether he was there or not.

Another black eye on Strange for some more conservative Republicans was the backing of the Senate Leadership Fund and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“It’s my personal opinion that Mitch McConnell and some of that crowd are not part of the conservative side of the GOP,” said Donna Horn, president of the Pike County Republican Party.

The Senate Leadership Fund, which has close ties to McConnell, funneled $10 million into the race and Trump also lended his support to Strange, but local leaders said Alabama citizens weren’t buying it.

“I think people had their minds made up to whether they like Roy Moore or Luther Strange,” said Bert Fridlin, treasurer for the Pike County Republican executive committee. “I don’t think ads had much to do with it besides making some people ticked off. Whoever was deciding to run the ads against Moore didn’t know what they were doing and they were wasting their money.”

Reddoch said she thinks Moore will cooperate with other Republicans in the Senate, but won’t be manipulated by establishment leaders.

“I think that he will vote his convictions and he will listen to constituents and not vote exactly the way the establishment votes,” Reddoch said. “When you call Washington, the people answering the phones have their little speeches ready on why they’re going to vote the way they’re going to vote. If you call back pretending to be someone else, they go right into it again. I think that Roy Moore will listen to his constituents.”

One concern that has crept up after Moore’s victory is whether his win opens the door for Democratic candidate Doug Jones to steal the seat.

Reddoch says she doesn’t believe that’s the case.

“I think that it would have been harder for Luther Strange to beat Doug Jones than Roy Moore,” Reddoch said. “I think that idea was coming from McConnell that Strange could beat the Democrat and he didn’t know if Moore could.”

Fridlin agreed: “I don’t think Republicans in Alabama are about ready to allow a Democrat to be elected to the U.S. Senate.”

Moore and Jones will square off in the final election for the seat on Tuesday, December 12. Absentee voting is already open for the election. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and voting places will be the same as the primary locations. Photo ID will be required to vote.

The crossover voting ban does not apply to the general election. All Alabama citizens that are registered to vote are eligible to vote for the candidate of their choice.

For more information, contact the Pike County Board of registrars at 334-566-1757, the Pike County Probate office at 334-670-6366 or the circuit clerk at 334-566-5113.