Tuesday night, according to the Washington Examiner, Alabama Republicans held a runoff election for a candidate to fill the rest of the unexpired Senate term of Jeff Sessions, who became President Trump’s Attorney General. Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore beat the appointed incumbent, Luther Strange. Moore will face Democrat Doug Jones in a special election in December.

Why did Moore win?

To say Roy Moore is a colorful character is to understate the reality. When Barack Obama snarked about people “clinging to their God and their guns” he might have been talking about Moore. At one point he pulled a pistol while speaking on the stump.

More importantly, Moore was removed twice as a state Supreme Court chief justice for defying federal court orders, once over the removal of the Ten Commandments from state property, once over enforcement of the same sex order by the United States Supreme Court. He was written off at first but soon surged to become the front-runner, despite the fact that President Trump supported Strange. Moore had the support of such luminaries as Sarah Palin and Sebastian Gorka.

Moore won because Alabamans are irate at the failure of the Senate to pass Obamacare repeal and replace. They voted for Moore over Strange as a way to send a message to the Republican Party establishment.

Democrats gleeful

Democrats are rubbing their hands with glee, believing that they have a shot at picking up a Senate seat. Moore, in their view, is far too extreme even for Alabama.

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In Doug Jones, a former United States Attorney who prosecuted members of the Klan responsible for the Sixteenth Street Church bombing during the height of the Civil Rights Era, they think they have a solid candidate. They intend to pour money and muscle into the campaign.

Nevertheless, Moore is said to have the edge over Jones. Alabama is a deep red state that has not elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1992. A lot of Alabamans agree with Moore on the social issue. Jones would have to explain his party’s stance against repealing and replacing Obamacare and tax reform.

Still, the Alabama special Senate election is now a real race with a Democratic upset not outside the realm of possibility. Moore could make a gaffe that turns off more establishment-oriented Republicans who, if they might not vote for Jones, could stay home. Nevertheless, Trump will now be in his corner, as well as the old Tea Party coalition. Moore as a United States senator promises to be a living nightmare for Mitch McConnell, which suits Alabamans just fine.