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Sizing Up Christian Zealot Roy Moore For Next Tuesday’s Election

September 21, 2017

This blog has not been shy about calling out Roy Moore for what he is.  He is nothing short of a Christian zealot who needs to read Jon Meacham’s book American Gospel so to understand the relationship religion plays in our pluralistic nation.  I am continually struck by how far from our national republican ideals, which our Founders strove to implement, Moore has strayed.    

Now this man is on his way to the United States Senate in a special election.   Recall that Lyndon Johnson won a special election in 1948 and the nation paid a very dear price in the decades which followed.  Every night this week, like many others we have watched PBS and the Ken Burns documentary on Vietnam.  Politics and elections have consequences and this blogger has never shied away from that fact which history continually demonstrates.

One of my favorite sources for deep into the weeds analysis of campaigns and the election models is Larry Sabato.  I have taken a couple of his on-line classes–not for credit but just to learn–and find him an essential go-to person when it comes to these matters.  I fear–and know–he is correct in his views.

On top of the poor electoral history for appointed incumbents in primary runoffs, Strange’s 32.8% primary showing is one of the lowest for any incumbent senator involved in an election that went to a runoff. Only Sen. Charles Culberson (D-TX), in 1916, won after winning a lower percentage in the primary (21.9%) than Strange. Culberson wound up winning his runoff election rather easily: The primary vote was heavily fragmented (four candidates won at least 15%) and supporters of the failed primary candidates rallied to Culberson in the runoff in part because his opponent, ex-Gov. Oscar Colquitt, was at odds with President Woodrow Wilson’s administration. In 2017, Strange finds himself in his party’s president’s camp, but seemingly at odds with many of the supporters of said president. What a curious state of affairs, indeed.

Moore has led every primary runoff poll since he finished first in the Aug. 15 primary, and he appears to be a slight favorite. However, a party primary with unpredictable turnout is an uncertain beast. Strange has far more resources and could surprise Moore in the end. A large share of the vote that went to candidates other than Moore or Strange in the primary is situated in counties that could be friendlier to Strange if demographics are any guide.

But based on the history of incumbent performance in primary runoffs, Strange is not in a great position, and he is definitely playing catchup. Yet there is one other aspect to this race to consider: While President Trump and Senate Majority Leader McConnell have struggled to work together and have a strained relationship, they do share one common goal: electing Strange. Could the late push by the president and vice president and the all-out attack ads funded by McConnell’s Senate Leadership Fund put Strange over the top next week? We certainly aren’t going to write him off.

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