Alabama Senate primary: Trump looks to rally voters behind Strange, as Moore gains steam

Alabama’s red hot U.S. Senate race is bringing out the big guns. President Trump plans to visit Huntsville, Alabama Friday to stump for incumbent Luther Strange, who faces a Tuesday GOP primary runoff against former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore.

“If Strange wins, it’s a feather in Trump’s cap,” said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics. “But it’s an even bigger feather in Mitch McConnell’s cap.”

Spending by the senate majority leader’s super PAC has been high on the senator’s behalf. Strange, who was appointed to fill the seat when Jeff Sessions left to become attorney general, is considered a favorite among the GOP establishment.

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“I only met Mitch McConnell when I came to Washington a few months ago,” Strange told Fox News. “But to have a relationship, a working relationship, with them and the president, I think it puts me in a very unique position in Washington.”

Former Alabama Chief Justice and U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore speaks to supporters Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, in Montgomery, Ala., after he forced a Senate primary runoff with Sen. Luther Strange to fill the U.S. Senate seat previously held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

A favorite among Christian conservatives, Roy Moore is a populist and self-described defender of the Constitution. He enjoys the support of former rival Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon.  (AP)

In a one-issue special primary, the president’s visit could help the Strange campaign’s efforts to get out the vote. But supporters of Strange’s opponent say the president’s endorsement is unlikely to sway their vote.

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“I like Trump, but I’m not voting for Strange,” said Dustin Junior of Heflin, Alabama. “I just like his Christian values — Roy’s. And I think that’s what our country needs right now.”

A favorite among Christian conservatives, Moore is a populist and self-described defender of the Constitution. He enjoys the support of former rival Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon.

Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) looks on during a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington March 9, 2017.  REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein - RC16E9F1A070

President Trump plans to visit Huntsville, Alabama Friday to stump for incumbent Luther Strange, who is locked in a bitter primary battle to retain his seat.  (Reuters)

“I think people know me,” Moore told Fox News. “They know I’m not running against Donald Trump. I have supported things that Donald Trump stands for.”

The winner of next Tuesday’s Republican primary runoff is favored to win the December general election in this solidly red state. The battle is not so much between Republican and Democrat as it is between the various factions of the president’s supporters.

Fox News’ David Lewkowict contributed to this report.

Jonathan Serrie joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in April 1999 and currently serves as a correspondent based in the Atlanta bureau.