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.
“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.”
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.
“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.
“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.