Trump Rallies for Strange in Alabama as Polls Show a Toss-Up in Special Election
Many of Trump’s allies have stumped for Moore.
Next Tuesday, the citizens of Alabama head to polls to vote in the special election for senator between incumbent Sen. Luther Strange, who took over after Jeff Sessions became attorney general, and former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.
President Donald Trump attended a rally in Huntsville, Alabama, on Friday to show his support of Strange. Will this be enough for Strange? After all, polls are too close to call.
Here is the whole speech:
Support for Strange
Trump won Alabama by 62% in the 2016 presidential election so he decided to attend the rally to pull his supporters together for Strange. From Fox News:
“I called him up a week ago and I said, ‘You know, I think you’re down by a few points,’” Trump said. “But I’m going to come to Alabama and I’m going to make a speech for you on Friday night.”
Trump argued during the rally that Strange would have an easier time than Moore winning the general election in Alabama if Strange secures the Republican nomination next week.
“That is why I’m here tonight to ask the good people of Alabama to send Luther Strange to the United States Senate, so he can defend your interests, fight for your values and always put America first,” Trump said.
The Strange campaign is banking on the president’s support to help him close the gap before Tuesday’s vote. During a debate Thursday, Strange repeatedly emphasized Trump’s endorsement, portraying himself as a loyal warrior in Washington for the president’s agenda.
Trump admitted that he may have “made a mistake” by inputting himself into this special election because if Strange loses it could harm Trump’s influence. But Trump believes Strange can win the general election in December.
Trump also admitted that he chose to back Strange because of loyalty. From CNN:
The President bluntly told the crowd that when he was handed a list of 10 senators he needed to lobby to support his health care effort, some insisted on dinners and meetings with their families before Trump could win them over.
But when he called Strange, the new senator appointed in February to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions, said, in Trump’s retelling: “Sir, don’t even waste your time talking anymore. You have a lot of business to do. You have my vote.”
Trump said he told first lady Melania Trump about the call. “I went home and told my wife, that’s the coolest thing that’s happened to me in six months.”
Of course Trump delved into other areas during the speech, including the NFL, which has been wrapped in controversy since last year when former quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled for the National Anthem. From CNN:
Trump also said he’d like to see NFL owners respond to players kneeling during the National Anthem by saying: “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired. He’s fired!”
“For a week, (that owner would) be the most popular person in this country,” Trump said, “because that’s a total disrespect of our heritage. That’s a total disrespect for everything we stand for.
And he complained about NFL efforts to enforce penalties designed to prevent concussions. “They’re ruining the game, right?” he said. “They’re ruining the game.”
Trump Allies Support…Moore?!
Yes. Moore has received support from Trump supporters including former vice president nominee Sarah Palin and former advisor Sebastian Gorka, who actually attended a rally for Moore the other day. He has received support from former chief advisor Steve Bannon as well.
Interestingly enough, on Friday, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson stated he supported Moore. From Fox News:
“Judge Moore is a fine man of proven character and integrity, who I have come to respect over the years,” Carson said. “I was delighted to hear he is running for the U.S. Senate. He is truly someone who reflects the Judeo-Christian values that were so important to the establishment of our country.”
A few hours before the Trump rally, a FOX10 News/Strategy Research statewide poll found that Moore leads Strange by eight points:
The telephone survey of 2,000 Republicans, who have voted at least once in the last 4 elections and said they planned to vote next week, asked, “If the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate race were held today, for which of the following two candidates would you vote?” 54% said they would vote for Roy Moore, while 46% said Luther Strange.
The survey also indicated President Donald Trump’s endorsement of Luther Strange would only sway 2 out of 10 Republicans, planning to cast votes in the runoff.
Trump may have reason for concern about meddling in this election, according to this poll:
When asked, “President Donald Trump has endorsed Luther Strange and announced visits to Alabama to campaign for him. Did the endorsement by the President make a difference in deciding for whom you would vote?”, 20% of those polled said the President’s endorsement did make a difference, while 80% the president’s endorsement did not make a difference.
Moore also leads by eight points in a poll from the Louisiana-based JMC Analytics and Polling. However, the same firm had him at a 19 point lead last month. From AL.com:
The latest poll was conducted Sept. 16-17 and has a margin of error of 4.4 percent. There were 500 participants in a landline sample of likely runoff voters.
Beyond having an overall lead in the race, according to the poll, the survey also found that the 13 percent of participants who said they were undecided were leaning toward Moore 50 percent to 42 percent with another 8 percent declining to specify a candidate.
Politico came out with an article on Friday explains why polls during special elections can be difficult to take to heart:
Alabama does not register voters by party, so all registered voters are eligible to cast ballots next Tuesday. That makes it difficult for pollsters to pull a sample of people who are most likely to turn out.
It all adds up to considerable uncertainty whether the public polls — mostly conducted by firms that use a less-expensive methodology — are right, and Moore, a former state supreme court justice, is poised to topple Strange.
“In a low-turnout, special [primary runoff] election, polls are going to be all over the place,” said Chris Kratzer, vice president of polling and communications at Cygnal, which released a poll in the initial primary. “A turnout swing of 30,000 or 40,000 could have a huge impact in a race like this.”
Private polls commissioned by allies of Strange show a much tighter race. These include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Senate Leadership Fund.
Chris Pack, the communications director for Senate Leadership Fund, said the group has such confidence in its polls or otherwise they “wouldn’t be using it to up our [advertising] buy and add to our commitment to Sen. Strange.” Politico continued:
Senate Leadership Fund’s most recent survey, released last week, showed Moore with only a 1-point lead over Strange, 41 percent to 40 percent. A month ago, Senate Leadership Fund’s pollster — Jan van Lohuizen, who polled for former President George W. Bush — had Moore ahead by 4 points.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce hasn’t publicly released its internal poll, but The Washington Post reported that it showed “a more favorable race for Strange than public surveys,” and it was used to persuade Trump to travel to Alabama to campaign for the incumbent.
In other words, who knows? Vice President Mike Pence will visit Alabama on Monday to give Strange one last push before Tuesday’s election.
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One place I would disagree with Trump, if I still lived in the Not-so-great-state of Alabama I’d be voting for Roy Moore.
Trump either gets the person he supports, or he gets a person loyal to his agenda. What he avoids is being overshadowed by Moore.
Trump should have stayed out of Alabama and kept his mouth shut about the race too. Instead he goes and yammers on too long. Mike Pence is starting to look better.
“Private polls commissioned by allies of Strange show a much tighter race. These include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Senate Leadership Fund.”
Yes, yes. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Senate Leadership Fund, McConnell and Mr. Establishment…the ultimate “outsider”.
If Strange loses, GOPe will be soiling their diapers because they know a significant number of them are next. Their days of kabuki fail theater will be numbered.
Moore may have the better position on a lot of issues. But to me he just “feels” a lot more like a Todd Akin who might say something at any point that drags conservatives backwards. Some of those clips are already out there, and even though a Dem has little chance of winning in AL I expect national media to non-stop broadcast every little word. The left’s favorite words will be plastered all over. Racism. Homophobia. Etc.
But I’ll take either of the GOP candidates over a modern day McCain in a heartbeat.
Judge Moore like Todd Akin? You cannot be serious. Moore has more brains and competence, not to mention decency in his little finger than Akin has in his whole body.
Electing Moore is a vote for trying to stop the persecution of Christians.
Trump should have stayed out of this. If Strange wins he has helped another establishment member of the GOP into the hen-house.
Who said anything about intelligence? I’m only pointing to positions and beliefs and how Moore expresses them. The media will have a field day. Just saying “reds and yellows” is inarticulate, for example. Trump may use poor words to make valid, strong points too. But a new politician from AL doesn’t have the same power as Trump to kick the critical media to the side.
And protecting religious freedom is a great distinction for him. But how he expresses his beliefs matters. Fire and brimstone language just won’t cut it. In that way he may slip just like Akin. He may be smarter. But he can’t regress to the language of 50 years ago.
Akin was the establishment candidate. Two TEA party types split the anti-establishment vote.
I can’t understand PDT supporting this lying, corrupt lobbyist.
You may not want to hear this, but here it is:
The GOPe bought Trump off in 2016. In return for Trump’s endorsement of John McCain (whom we know Trump hates), the GOPe gave Trump support for the presidential race. The deal doesn’t end there, as McConnell now has Trump endorsing other squishes in their races.
Trump’s agenda may include both America and Trump, but when there’s a conflict Trump chooses Trump first.
It’s amazing how long some can live on a diet consisting exclusively of spin.
Here’s an obvious one …
The survey also indicated President Donald Trump’s endorsement of Luther Strange would only sway 2 out of 10 Republicans
The gratuitous “only” is the spin. Two out of ten is 20%. In an American election, 20% is Yuuuge. So, they throw in that “only”, and typical readers whose eyes glaze over as soon as numbers are involved are left with a vague impression that 20% is chump change.
True. Compare that 20% to the gap in any one of the polls.
Well, Trump gave an explanation for why he was backing Strange over Moore. Is everyone happy now?
Look, I have NO idea who would be more effective in Congress. Ideologically, I would personally prefer Moore, simply because he has butted heads with the Republican Party in the past. But, I can’t argue with Trump’s stated reasoning. We’ll have to see what happens in both elections. It is up to the people of Alabama, after all.
“Look, I have NO idea who would be more effective in Congress.”
Then you’re an idiot.
The establishment doesn’t choose people with even a 10% chance of letting them down. Every person is vetted for usefulness to their agenda, just like how Paul Ryan was Boehner’s handpicked successor.
If the establishment is backing them, then they’re corrupt in some way or controllable.
Matt, it might be nice if you bothered to provide a clear explanation of your point.
Are you saying the Strange, being affiliated with, if not a member of, the Establishment would be more effective in a Congress peopled totally by members of the Establishment? Or are you saying that Moore would be more effective in such a setting? Also, what standards do you use for determining effectiveness?
Trump wants certain legislation passed by Congress. Right now he is opposed by EVERYONE in that institution. Will Moore back Trump, if he is elected? Or will he be as ineffective as Ted Cruz is? Or will he be bought off by the Establishment? I don’t know. Do you?
Now, trump’s apparent motive for backing Strange, is that he feels that Strange will be more electable in a general election. If the Democrat challenger wins the seat. the GOP takes a step closer to losing its majority in the Senate. Even though the Republicans are thwarting Trump at every legislative turn, there is no way that Trump is going to get ANY Democrat to back his agenda.
As I said, ideologically I would prefer Moore in the Senate, as he is m ore of an outsider than Strange is. But, I would prefer Strange over any Democrat. Moore has a lot of baggage, especially in controversial judicial decisions, which is likely to bite him in the butt in a general election. Now, this IS Alabama. And Moore’s more controversial positions may either not matter to Alabama voters, or even appeal to a significant number of them. So, we will just have to wait and see what happens.
Luther Strange isn’t just Trump’s guy, he’s also Mitch McConnell’s and Karl Rove’s guy. A vote for Strange is a vote for the establishment.