Roy Moore — former judge, anti-LGBTQ conservative, and accused child molester — is once again running for one of Alabama’s Senate seats.
Moore failed to secure a seat in the U.S. Senate in December 2017, after Democrat Doug Jones bested him in an incredibly close election.
Sen. Jones’ win represented a stunning upset in the overwhelmingly conservative, Republican, and pro-Trump state.
It came after numerous scandals beset Moore’s campaign, including multiple allegations of sexual assault, harassment, and revelations that he allegedly dated teenage girls — among them a 14-year-old — while he was in his 30s.
Moore, who carved out a reputation as a fierce crusader on social issues, is best known for his anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and actions while on the state Supreme Court. He was suspended without pay for the remainder of his term for issuing an order to probate judges in Alabama that essentially advised them to ignore the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision legalizing marriage equality.
He has compared opponents of same-sex marriage to Holocaust victims and said the legalization of marriage equality was “worse” than the Dred Scott decision that ruled that African-Americans were property, not citizens.
In a statement announcing his candidacy, Moore confirmed that he will seek to be the Republican Party’s nominee for the 2020 election.
“Yes, I will run for the United States Senate in 2020,” Moore said. “Can I win? Yes, I can win.”
Speaking to reporters, he claimed that there was “so much opposition” to his previous run for the Senate because “they don’t want the truth in Washington. I think they want to continue the status quo.”
He also lashed out at Donald Trump — who supported Moore’s previous run for Senate after the Republicans’ preferred candidate, Luther Strange, lost the primary to Moore.
Donald Trump Jr. on Thursday tweeted against Moore’s candidacy, writing, “I can assure everyone that by running, Roy Moore is going against my father and he’s doing a disservice to all conservatives across the country in the process.”
And Trump himself tweeted that Moore “cannot win” and another loss to Jones would be “devastating.”
“I have NOTHING against Roy Moore, and unlike many other Republican leaders, wanted him to win,” Trump wrote. “But he didn’t, and probably won’t.”
Moore accused the National Republican Senate Committee of pushing Trump to oppose him this go around.
“I think he’s being pushed by the NRSC. I don’t know what he’s thinking,” Moore said. “I can’t speak for him. But I can say I don’t disagree with him in lots of his policies.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who championed Strange against Moore in the 2017 primaries, told the Associated Press that Moore “can do what he wants to, but we’re certainly going to oppose him in every way.”
Sen. Doug Jones said that with Moore’s declared candidacy, his opponent would either be an “extremist” or “someone handpicking by Mitch McConnell.”
“Today, Roy Moore has made what was already going to be a divisive Republican primary even more polarizing and extreme,” Jones said in a statement. “We don’t need any more of that. Worse, it’s now clear that my opponent will either be an extremist like Roy Moore or someone handpicked by Mitch McConnell to be his senator, not Alabama’s. The only question left is who will be McConnell’s choice?”
In a statement, the Human Rights Campaign said it looked forward to opposing anti-LGBTQ Moore and helping Jones win reelection to the Senate.
“Roy Moore is one of the most anti-LGBTQ politicians in the country,” HRC’s National Press Secretary for Campaigns Lucas Acosta said in a statement. “He has been removed from almost every elected office he’s held for misconduct and lost his previous bid for the Senate despite Republicans previously holding both Alabama Senate seats for 20 years.
“It’s unclear why he would want to be denied yet another public office or put Alabamians through another Roy Moore candidacy, but we look forward to helping Sen. Doug Jones defeat him — again,” Acosta added.
GLAAD issued a press release highlighting some of the many anti-LGBTQ things Moore has said over the years, including saying trans people have “misguided confusion over their God-given chromosomes,” that being gay should “be against military policy as was the law prior to Bill Clinton,” and calling LGBTQ-inclusive hate crimes laws a “dangerous trend” that make it “illegal to speak out against homosexuality, even when such an immoral lifestyle is publicly paraded in the streets.”
“Roy Moore just won’t take ‘no’ for an answer,” Zeke Stokes, GLAAD’s chief program officer, said in a statement. “Alabamians have spoken loudly and clearly — his brand of hate is out of touch, out of date, and out of line with American values.”