Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has won against incumbent Sen. Luther Strange in the Alabama Republican primary for the U.S. Senate on Tuesday.
Moore, who has twice lost his position as the state’s top judge, led Strange by 55 percent to 45 percent, with all 67 counties reporting, according to Reuters.
Strange, who was backed by President Donald Trump, had called Moore to concede the race. “We wish him the best as he goes forward,” he told his supporters.
The incumbent senator was appointed by former Gov. Robert Bentley to take the seat vacated by Jeff Sessions when he became the U.S. attorney general.
Despite supporting Strange, Trump congratulated Moore for his victory and urged him to defeat Democrat Doug Jones in the election that is set take place in December.
“Congratulations to Roy Moore on his Republican Primary win in Alabama. Luther Strange started way back & ran a good race. Roy, WIN in Dec!” the president tweeted.
The former chief justice is favored to win against Jones in the December election, as no Democrat had been elected to the Senate in Alabama since 1992.
Moore is known for his pro-life and pro-marriage views, as well as his support of Christianity in the public square.
He had gained the support of evangelicals, such as James Dobson of Focus on the Family and Franklin Graham of Samaritan’s Purse, and other former White House cabinet members, including Sebastian Gorka, an intelligence analyst who served as an advisor to Trump, and former Chief of Staff Steve Bannon.
After thanking his supporters on Tuesday night, Moore lamented the division that is sweeping the country, but expressed hope that God will restore the country to its former “greatness.”
“This is a time for victory. It’s a time to remember the struggles we’ve gone through. But it’s also a time to rededicate our lives to God, and to our Constitution and to our country, [and] to our families,” he said, as reported by Christian News Network.
Bannon said that Moore’s victory could embolden other grassroots challengers to try to defeat well-funded incumbent Republican lawmakers in next year’s congressional elections.
The 70-year-old Moore had been suspended as chief justice in 2003 after he refused to take down a display of the Ten Commandments from the lobby of the state judicial building. He lost his position for the second time in 2016 for refusing to enforce laws about same-sex marriage.