Roy Moore Will Run Again for US Senate After 2017 Loss

Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore announces his run for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate on Thursday. (AP Photo/Julie Bennett)

(CN) – Speaking Thursday afternoon in Montgomery, former judge Roy Moore, twice removed from the Alabama Supreme Court, announced that he will once again run in 2020 for a seat in the U.S. Senate after losing a special election two years ago when several women accused him of decades-old sexual misconduct.

“Can I win? Yes I can win,” Moore said. “Not only can I, they know I can. That’s why there’s such opposition.”

Even as Moore says he’s the best candidate to represent Alabama values in Washington, he faces obstacles on multiple fronts: pushback from some fellow Republicans and lawsuits that stemmed out of events during his last campaign still sitting unresolved in federal and state courts.

When asked if a trial during the race would affect his campaign, Moore said in an interview Thursday, “Personally, I think we learned a lot and I wouldn’t mind going to trial. If it doesn’t go to trial, it doesn’t. I can’t predict it.”

Moore believes he’ll able to juggle running for office at the same time he is “fighting to punish those who have defamed my reputation.”

Besides defending himself from a defamation lawsuit one of the accusers brought against him, Moore has filed a federal complaint against CBS, Showtime and comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, claiming he was duped into appearing on Cohen’s “Who Is America?”

He also sued three woman who accused him of sexual misconduct for defamation in an Alabama circuit court.

Meanwhile, he said his reputation among Alabama voters was formed during his 40-year career as a judge, prosecutor and attorney.

Moore was first removed from his position on the Alabama Supreme Court in 2003 – at the same time as he rose to national prominence – because he refused to remove a statue of the Ten Commandments from the Alabama Judicial Building.

Heading into the Senate race, Moore said, “I’m certain I’m going to hear some other stuff I’ve never heard because politics has become very dirty.”

Moore, 72, lost his first run for the Senate seat to Democrat Doug Jones in a December 2017 special election, which was called after former Senator Jeff Sessions was appointed U.S. attorney general.

Weeks before voters headed to the polls, Moore’s campaign took a fatal hit as several women came forward and alleged that Moore pursued romantic or sexual relationships with them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s.

Black women voters also turned out in overwhelming support of Jones, helping him win the seat in the typically ruby-red state.

Moore signaled that he was open to another Senate run after a poll published in April found him to be the most popular candidate for the seat among potential Republican voters.

Speaking at his nonprofit’s building in downtown Montgomery, cross pin on his lapel, Moore said Thursday that groups like the National Republican Senate Committee, or NRSC, have worked behind the scenes over the last few weeks to discourage him from running.

But President Donald Trump took to Twitter in late May to publicly say Moore could not win the race.

“If Alabama does not elect a Republican to the Senate in 2020, many of the incredible gains that we have made during my Presidency may be lost, including our Pro-Life victories,” Trump wrote.

Moore said Democrats turned to social media two years and used tactics similar to those employed by Russia during the 2016 election to sow disinformation among Republican voters in Alabama. The effort, named Project Birmingham, was originally reported by the New York Times in December.

“I think I won the last election, if it were not for the false tactics used by the Democratic operatives in Washington, D.C. and the false information that was put out,” Moore said. “I think there was so much opposition because they don’t want the truth in Washington. I think they want to continue the status quo and I think we could change it.”

The NRSC and Jones’ re-election campaign did not immediately return requests for comment Thursday.

In November 2017, Leigh Corfman told the Washington Post she was 14 when she had a sexual encounter with Moore, who was in his 30s at the time. As a result of Moore’s denials, Corfman filed a defamation lawsuit against him.

While Moore has sat for one deposition, he is fighting attempts by Corfman’s attorneys to make him sit down for a second.

In response to a reporter’s questions about the lawsuit, Moore said Thursday he had taken a lie detector test and the claims against him are false.

Ahead of the primary held in March 2020, Moore will be running against other Republicans vying for the party’s nomination to challenge Jones later that year.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill has filed paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission to run as a Republican for the Senate seat and is expected to make an announcement in the next few days.

Congressman Bradley Byrne, a Republican who represents the area around Mobile, raised $2 million at the end of March for his Senate run, according to FEC records.

Another candidate, Tommy Tuberville, the former head football coach for Auburn University, has so far campaigned for the Senate seat by portraying himself as a political outsider, in the same vein that Trump did during his presidential campaign.

Before Moore’s announcement, the Tuberville campaign disclosed the result of an internal poll that found 23% of more than 600 likely voters in the Republican primary would support the former coach. Moore came in second with 18%. The poll has a margin of error of 4%.

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