Alabama’s Other Senator Calls Roy Moore ‘The Favorite’ To Win In Alabama

Tom Williams/CQPHO

With friends like these, who needs Steve Bannon?

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) (pictured, right) gave a fairly candid assessment of the closely watched Alabama Senate GOP primary runoff on Tuesday afternoon, admitting his preferred candidate, appointed Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) (pictured, left), was the underdog.

“Roy Moore is probably the favorite right now but it depends on turnout, the ground game,” Shelby told reporters in Washington on Tuesday. “If there’s a small turnout or an average turnout, a turnout like it was, Moore should win. A bigger turnout would probably favor Senator Strange.”

Shelby insisted high turnout would give Strange a “window to win,” and argued that it’s a “closer race than we think at the moment,” alluding to a spate of recent polls that show Strange, the establishment favorite, trailing firebrand former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore by a double-digit margin.

Strange is trailing in spite of a hearty endorsement from President Trump and close to $10 million in outside spending from allies of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Many Trump allies, including former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, are in Moore’s camp.

The race may be the first time that a Trump-endorsed candidate loses election since his nomination, and Republicans are widely concerned that it will pour fuel on the fire of the establishment-populist war already wracking the GOP.

Polls close at 8 p.m. ET in Alabama.


Cameron Joseph is Talking Points Memo's senior political correspondent based in Washington, D.C. He covers Capitol Hill, the White House and the permanent campaign. Previous publications include the New York Daily News, Mashable, The Hill and National Journal. He grew up near Chicago and is an irrationally passionate Cubs fan.