Alabama Senate race tests Trump's ability to deliver his voters

Friday's Campaign Round-Up, 9.22.17

President Donald Trump visited Huntsville on Friday night to offer support for Senator Luther Strange. "He doesn't know Mitch McConnell, until just recently", Trump said of unusual at Friday night's rally for odd. Unusual is competing against opponent Roy Moore in a special runoff election to fill the Senate seat vacated when Jeff Sessions became attorney general.

Strange, the state's former attorney general who was appointed to Sessions' former seat in February, is trying to fend off a challenge from Moore, a darling of evangelical voters after being twice removed as state chief justice upon taking losing stances against gay marriage and in favor of the public display of the Ten Commandments. And Trump was shown polling indicating that the race had tightened. McCain's opposition could spell doom for the bill, which the Senate may vote on it next week, because Republicans can afford to lose few votes among their own.

Trump expressed optimism that the bill could still pass. "Little Rocket Man - we're going to do it because we really have no choice".

Trump boasted of his week at the United Nations and how he was standing up to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, reviving and adding to his nickname for him - now "little Rocket Man". As Alabama's Attorney General, Strange had been investigating Bentley's corruption.

In an extended riff during a freewheeling rally speech in Alabama Friday night, Trump also bemoaned that football games have become less violent.

He added: "No, Russia did not help me, that I can tell you, OK?" Then he asked, "Are there any Russians in the audience?" Trump tweeted while spending the weekend at his golf club in New Jersey.

Republicans worry that if unusual falls to Moore, the race could launch a tsunami of outsider challenges to incumbent Republican lawmakers in the next midterm election.

Whether simply duped by Senate Majority Leader McConnell into believing unusual will be the better senator or believing it of his own volition, President Trump is doubling down.

But Strange called him up and said he was with him "right from the start", something the president said left him in disbelief. "He is truly someone who reflects the Judeo-Christian values that were so important to the establishment of our country". And he said that if Moore wins, "I'm going to be here campaigning like hell for him". A state isn't well-served by a Senator who hasn't gotten to know his party's leader in the Senate. "He named several people, but the first one that he mentioned was Luther Strange".

Everything about the rally - the mega stadium, the massive American flag, the "Make America Great Again" hats - screamed Trump. Additionally, Moore has the backing of former White House adviser Sebastian Gorka and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. More than a decade ago, he sparked worldwide headlines over his attempt to have a 5,000lb statue containing the Ten Commandments installed in the Alabama Supreme Court building. "I gotta get your vote on health care.' He said, 'You got it, '" Trump said, sounding as if he was still amazed at how easy it was to whip unusual.

Trump endorsed unusual in August, ahead of the initial primary for the seat.

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