Seated beneath the Ten Commandments plaque that first made him a conservative icon in the culture wars, US Senate candidate and former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore invokes President Trump's campaign slogan—but with his own twist. "We can only make America great again if we make America good," Moore said a day after announcing his bid for the Senate seat once held by AG Jeff Sessions. Moore's theme puts a values-driven spin on the president's populist slogan, "Make America Great Again," and Moore's campaign announcement spelled out what he believes isn't good: divorce, abortion, and same-sex marriage. In what's expected to be high-dollar GOP primary slugfest, with multiple candidates seeking to harness the president's blunt-spoken outsider appeal, Moore is a far-right and polarizing entry. "I am definitely not establishment," Moore tells the AP with a chuckle.
Former Alabama AG Luther Strange currently holds the Senate seat and is in the race. He was appointed by then-Gov. Robert Bentley, who resigned this month amid fallout from an alleged affair with a top staffer. Bentley had planned for a 2018 Senate election, but the state's new governor, Kay Ivey, moved it up to this year, setting off what's expected to be a four-month demolition derby among Republican contenders ahead of the Aug. 15 primary. Trump's Alabama campaign chair, Ed Henry—a Republican legislator who helped topple Bentley by starting an impeachment push—is running, too, in what's shaping up to be a crowded field. Yet the jurist who has made morality a core issue acknowledged he shares little in common with the thrice-married president. "God puts people in positions he wants. ... I believe he sent Donald Trump in there to do what Donald Trump can do," Moore said. "We will see what God would have me do."