MOBILE, Ala. — With 98
percent of state precincts counted, Roy Moore held on to 51
percent of the vote in his bid to retake his former job as
chief justice of the state’s supreme court.
Moore received 279,381 votes to Mobile Judge Charlie
Graddick’s 139,673 votes (25 percent), and incumbent Chief
Justice Chuck Malone’s 136,050 votes (24 percent).
If Moore slips below the magical 50 percent mark once
all precincts are reported, he would face either Graddick or
Malone in a Republican run-off on April 24.
“I’m very happy at what we thought was going to happen.
The people support me. So many tried to disparage me,” Moore
said after the vote on Tuesday (March 13). “My opponents are
very good men, qualified judges. I’ve never made any
Moore is hoping to regain a position he lost in 2003
when a state panel expelled him from office for failing to
comply with a federal court order to remove a 5,280-pound
granite monument to the Ten Commandments that he had placed
in the Alabama Judicial Building in Montgomery.
Moore argued — and continues to maintain — that he had a
right to acknowledge God and that following the order would
have been a violation of his oath to the Constitution.
Moore went on to run for governor in 2006 and 2010 and
lost. His name was also floated as a presidential candidate
in 2004 and 2008 for the Constitution Party but he never
Moore, 65, was poised to win his old job back despite
getting badly outspent by his two GOP opponents. “That
should tell you something,” he said, giving credit to God.
Malone, the incumbent chief justice, said he believes
Moore had an advantage since he could devote his full
attention to campaigning while the other candidates have
“At this point, we’re not conceding anything,” Malone
said. “I knew (Moore) would do well. I didn’t expect it
would be at this level. He’s run five times statewide. I
know name recognition has a lot to do with it.”
Graddick said the vote is close enough that it could
change when the final results are in. “If it does, we’re
prepared to hit the ground running, and if it doesn’t, I’ll
call Judge Moore and congratulate him,” he said.
Attorney Harry Lyon is running as the Democratic
candidate for chief justice; voters will decide between Lyon
and the final Republican nominee in November, but the GOP
winner is widely expected to be the favorite.
In an attempt to sidestep any lingering controversy over
the Ten Commandments monument, Moore promised repeatedly
throughout this campaign that he would not try to bring it
back if elected.
On the campaign trail, Moore also downplayed his open
defiance with the federal court that ordered the monument
“I can’t envision a set of circumstances or an order
that would cause me to be in conflict with a higher court,”
he said. “This is the only conflict I’ve had with a higher
court, and I can’t envision another conflict.”
Moore sought to make the race about his experience
running the court system during a financial crisis. He
depicted himself as a steady hand who had previously guided
the judiciary through difficult budget cuts.
(Debbie M. Lord and Brendan Kirby write for The
Press-Register in Mobile, Ala.)
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