Sen. Luther Strange and former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore are headed to a Republican primary runoff to fill the US Senate seat previously held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The two men, who represent different factions within the Alabama Republican Party, will face off in a Sept. 26 runoff, the AP reports. Strange was appointed to the Senate seat in February by the state's then governor. He was unable to escape a runoff despite being buoyed by an endorsement from President Trump. Moore, who was removed from his duties as chief justice for defying federal rulings on gay marriage, harnessed his support among evangelical voters to secure a spot in the runoff.
In early returns, Moore had 41% of the vote to Strange's 32%, with Rep. Mo Brooks third with almost 20%. The runoff winner will face Democratic nominee Doug Jones in a Dec. 12 election. Jones was the victor in a crowded field in the Democratic primary. He is perhaps best known for leading the prosecution of two Klansmen for the 1963 bombing of a Birmingham church that killed four little girls. While Alabama has not been represented by a Democrat in the US Senate in 20 years, Jones has said Democrats must not concede the seat without a fight. He says Democrats can win if they can turn the conversation to "kitchen table issues" such as wages, health care, and jobs. (Read more Alabama stories.)