Brooks backs Moore in Alabama Senate slugfest
Posted 3:46 p.m. Saturday
Alabama Republican Rep. Mo Brooks is throwing his support behind former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore in the state's Senate primary runoff against Sen. Luther Strange following the congressman's stinging loss in the first round of primary voting last month.
The endorsement by Brooks, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, could give Moore, a Republican, a timely boost in advance of the primary runoff coming up on September 26.
In his announcement Saturday, Brooks called the race "an epic battle between the people of Alabama who put America first, and the Washington Swamp," adding that he had already cast an absentee ballot for his chosen candidate.
Strange is the favorite of the Republican establishment and is the candidate of choice for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to hold onto the seat held for two decades by Jeff Sessions, now attorney general.
President Donald Trump endorsed Strange before the primary, tweeting, "Senator Luther Strange has done a great job representing the people of the Great State of Alabama. He has my complete and total endorsement!"
Brooks took 20% of the vote in the initial ballot August 15, while Strange received 33% and Moore 39%.
Brooks declined to endorse either candidate after losing in August. However, in his conciliatory comments he appeared to speak more highly of Moore than Strange.
"I want to compliment Judge Roy Moore on the high quality race he ran," Brooks said to supporters at the time. "He ran a very honest campaign -- perhaps most importantly, a very honorable campaign."
Brooks' endorsement highlights a rift within the Republican Party between the GOP establishment and the conservative wing Moore is counting on.
"We must be strong during the 10 days left before the election," Brooks said in his remarks Saturday. "The Strange/ McConnell forces care not one twit about truth; they freely use malicious lies in their non-stop, scorched earth, campaign of personal destruction."
Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin also both recently endorsed Moore.