The former chief justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court is in the lead ahead of Tuesday’s Republican primary election, a move toward filling Attorney General Jeff Sessions former seat in the Senate, according to a poll released by the Trafalgar Group Friday.
The poll showed Moore leading the field, with 35 percent support. That’s more than 10 percentage points ahead of Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL), who garnered 23 percent in the poll.
Moore — who was removed from the state Supreme Court twice for refusing to take down a 10 Commandments monument and ordering other judges to not issue same-sex marriage licenses in 2016 — announced his Senate bid in April.
Strange was appointed to fill the seat by former Gov. Robert Bentley, who resigned amid allegations of his use of state resources to hide an affair with a top aide. Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey took over, calling for a special election in April.
Strange earned President Donald Trump’s endorsement on Tuesday, with the President tweeting that Strange has “done a great job” representing Alabama and that he has Trump’s “complete and total endorsement.”
Senator Luther Strange has done a great job representing the people of the Great State of Alabama. He has my complete and total endorsement!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 9, 2017
Just 3 points behind Strange, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) garnered 20 percent in the poll. Brooks launched his campaign in May, but announced last month he would withdraw from the race if Trump were to fire Sessions as attorney general to make room for Sessions to run for his seat.
The President spent at least two weeks publicly attacking Sessions on Twitter and expressing frustration over the attorney general’s decision to recuse himself from the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
“Brooks had momentum and we believe short of Trump’s endorsement tweet, Brooks would have overtaken Strange for second place,” Trafalgar senior strategist Robert Cahaly said in a statement. “Of course last minute campaign activity and presidential tweets could change this thing again.”
Just over 8 percent of voters are undecided, according to the poll, and just over 6 percent are supporting state Sen. Trip Pittman.
The poll surveyed 1,439 likely primary voters from Aug. 8 to Aug. 10. It has a +/- 2.59 percentage point margin of error.
The Republican nominee will face one of the eight Democratic candidates vying for a primary win: Michael Hansen, Doug Jones, Robert Kennedy Jr., Jason Fisher, Will Boyd, Vann Caldwell, Brian McGee or Nana Tchienkou.
If no one one candidate earns 50 percent of the vote, a run-off election will be held Step. 26. The general election will be in December.