White House Hedging Bets in Senate Runoff

Sep 25, 2017

White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short

Tomorrow is the Republican runoff election between sitting U.S. Senator Luther Strange and former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, and the White House is suggesting it won’t really be that big a defeat if their candidate loses.

Legislative director Marc Short says President Trump still supports Luther Strange, the establishment-backed former Alabama Attorney General who was appointed to Jeff Sessions’ former Senate seat by the scandal-plagued Governor Robert Bentley. In an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press”, Short says President Trump believes Strange will win the runoff, but “if he loses, I think the reality is that the Republicans will still hold that seat.”

Strange is locked in a very tight race with Roy Moore, who has been effectively removed twice from his position as chief justice for defiant stands against the federal government. Trump rallied for Strange in Huntsville on Friday, but the president acknowledged he may have made a mistake in endorsing Strange. Trump says Moore will likely have a harder time winning the general election.

The winner of tomorrow’s runoff will face Democratic candidate and former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones in December. A poll conducted earlier this month by Emerson College in Boston showed Jones in a statistical tie with either Strange or Moore.