WASHINGTON — Roy Moore, who was accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women, said Thursday he will run for US Senate again.
The former Alabama Supreme Court justice announced the decision in his home state after opening with a prayer, an introduction from his wife, Kayla Moore, and the Pledge of Allegiance.
“Yes, I will run for the United States Senate in 2020,” Moore said.
Moore spoke to the “barrage of information” surrounding his potential run and called out Republicans opposing his candidacy, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby.
“Why is there such a fear? Why is there such a[n] anger? Why such a hatred and opposition to someone running? Why does the mere mention of my name cause people to get up in arms in Washington, DC?” Moore asked, listing off a litany of conservative positions he holds, including supporting the Second Amendment and opposing abortion rights.
Moore became the Republican nominee to replace then–US attorney general Jeff Sessions in the Senate in a 2017 special election. After several women accused Moore of sexual misconduct — including inappropriately pursuing teenage girls and child molestation, one woman accusing him of sexually touching her when she was 14 and he was 32 — Moore lost the senatorial bid to now-Sen. Doug Jones, a Democrat.
Moore addressed the multiple sexual misconduct allegations against him Thursday, calling them “false.” He said he also would have won the 2017 election “if it were not for the tactics used by the Democratic operatives in Washington, DC,” and also referenced Republican “collusion” against him.
While President Donald Trump supported Moore in the 2017 general election, the controversial candidate shouldn’t count on the leading Republican’s backing this time around. Several prominent Republicans called for him to step down during his last campaign, and Trump recently urged Alabamians to flip the seat in 2020 but tweeted Roy Moore is not the answer.
“I have NOTHING against Roy Moore, and unlike many other Republican leaders, wanted him to win. But he didn’t, and probably won’t. ... Roy Moore cannot win, and the consequences will be devastating,” Trump wrote in a series of tweets late last month.
Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son, blasted Moore’s decision in a tweet Thursday, saying he is “doing a disservice to all conservatives across the country” by running again.
Jones responded to Moore's announcement in a tweet later Thursday, calling him an extremist and adding, "Roy Moore? Really? Here we go again[.]"
Moore will face several Republicans in a crowded primary, including US Rep. Bradley Byrne and state Rep. Arnold Mooney. Former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville will also throw his hat in the race, and Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill has said he is “seriously considering” a run.
The Republican candidates may also have to contend with Sessions, who held the seat for two decades. The Washington Post reported that Sessions, who resigned in November, has not ruled out running for his old seat in 2020.
Moore’s failed candidacy in 2017 continued to draw headlines well after the end of the race when he tried to block certification by filing a lawsuit claiming election fraud. Moore also sued one of his alleged sexual misconduct victims.
The failed US Senate candidate was in court again this April suing actor Sacha Baron Cohen for defamation. In a 2018 segment of Cohen’s Showtime series Who Is America?, the comedian interviewed Moore waving a wand he said identified sex offenders. The lawsuit is still ongoing.
This story was updated to include a tweeted response from Sen. Doug Jones.
Sacha Baron Cohen’s name was misspelled in an earlier version of this post.