As the special election to fill US Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ senate seat approaches, the large field of Republican candidates may make it a little daunting to cast your vote. With the primary scheduled for August 15, here is a brief rundown of the resumés and platforms of 3 notable senatorial candidates in the Republican race.
Former Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange currently holds Sessions’ seat, after being appointed by former Governor Robert Bentley in the interim. Strange took the seat on February 9th, and initially wanted to wait to hold the election until the 2018 cycle rather than having it this year. However, this policy goes against Alabama law, and when Governor Kay Ivey took office, she rescheduled the election for December 12, 2017. Strange’s attempt to push back the election made some people question his motives. For Strange, a later election would mean nearly 2 free years in office, and would give voters the chance to forget the controversy surrounding the Bentley administration to which Strange was linked.
The controversy in question centered around the acts of Bentley, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges that he violated campaign finance and ethics laws. On April 10th, Bentley resigned after a year-long sex scandal and multiple investigations. As attorney general, Strange was heading the investigations into Bentley’s actions, sparking some rumors that Bentley appointed Strange to the open seat so that Strange would cease the investigations against him.
Strange’s history with Bentley is both a pro and a con. The timing of Strange’s appointment to the seat may make voters suspicious, but on the other hand Strange can argue that he was the head of the Bentley investigations and the reason that a corrupt politician was deposed. Gov. Ivey’s decision to move up the election might make it tougher for Strange because the Bentley scandal is fresher in people’s minds, but at the same time his involvement with Bentley gives him notoriety that makes him stand out from the other candidates.
Controversy aside, Strange stands firm on the issues. He has said that he wants to work with President Trump to drain the swamp and make America great again. Strange believes that religious liberty should be protected at all costs, and supports the repeal and replacement of Obamacare. Strange is strong on immigration, and supports the building of Trump’s wall, the immediate deportation of criminal aliens, and the cutting off of funding for sanctuary cities. Strange also supports Trump’s refugee ban of immigrants from countries where there is a terrorist threat. The current senator is a strong advocate for the 2nd amendment, and supports fewer restrictions on law-abiding citizens purchasing firearms.
Roy Moore is also a somewhat controversial figure in Alabama politics. Moore has spent the majority of his 70 years actively involved in the Alabama political scene, serving as a circuit court judge and the chief justice of the state supreme court. Moore has twice faced eviction/suspension from his positions in the judicial branch. In 2003, he was removed from the Chief Justice’s office for refusing a federal judge’s order that he remove a Ten Commandments statue that Moore had placed in the state judicial building. After returning to his position, Moore was suspended in 2010 for ordering probate judges to enforce a state-wide ban on same-sex marriage, in opposition to the decision of the US Supreme Court.
Moore has said that he puts “God first, family, then country,” and these ideals translate to his political platform. Moore is a Trump supporter, but has stated that “Before we can make America great again, we’ve got to make America good again.” A member of the judiciary for so many years, Moore is committed to getting back to the Constitution and the vision of the Founding Fathers. Socially, Moore is very conservative, and stated that there are “families being crippled by divorce and abortion.” Moore does not think the federal government should be involved in public education, believing education to be a key function of the state government.
Moore has no doubt been through a lot in his career, and he has a history of winning elections even when his opponents outspend him. Some voters have voiced their opinions that they support Moore because knows what it’s like to stand alone, and is not afraid to stay staunchly conservative.
Though less talked-about by the media than the other two candidates, Mo Brooks similarly has a long history of service in Alabama. Brooks attended University of Alabama Law School, and began his career as a prosecutor at the Tuscaloosa District Attorney’s Office. Brooks was first elected to the Alabama state House of Representatives in 1982, where he served multiple terms. He went on to become the Madison County District Attorney and worked in private practice as well. Brooks was first elected to Congress in 2010, and represents Alabama’s 5th district,
In Congress, Brooks serves on various committees including Armed Services and Foreign Affairs. Some of Brooks’ highlighted platform points are his support of missile defense technologies and his opposition to sharing missile information with Russia, his opposition of sequestration, and his commitment to tort reform. Brooks has additionally said as Senator he would strive to protect families from higher taxes, and create more jobs.
Strange, Moore, and Brooks are only 3 of the 10 candidates on the Republican ticket this August, and these bios provide only a snapshot of what the candidates have to offer. It is important to do ample research and get to know the field before casting your vote. Your ballot matters, so make sure you get out to the polls on August 15 for the primary, September 26 for the runoff, and December 12 for the final election!
This article was cowritten by Katie Pickle and Chris Reid. Katie is a second year law student at Emory Law School. Mr. Reid is general practice attorney in Birmingham, Alabama. He has worked for Republican leadership in the United State House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., and was a health policy advisor to the governor of Alabama. You can contact him by email at email@example.com or by phone at 205-913-7406. A full description of his practice areas is available at www.reidlawalabama.com.
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