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Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Former Alabama Judge Roy Moore announced Thursday that he will make another bid for the Alabama Senate seat he lost to Democrat Doug Jones in 2017 in the face of sexual misconduct allegations.

Why it matters: Moore was almost guaranteed a win as the Republican nominee in Alabama’s 2017 special election, but a wave of sexual misconduct allegations, largely involving teenage girls, derailed his candidacy. The resulting chaos handed Jones a narrow 49.9%-48.4% victory — making him the first Democrat to hold statewide office in Alabama since 2008.

What they’re saying: President Trump, who backed Moore in his previous run, tweeted last month that "Republicans cannot allow themselves to again lose the Senate seat in the Great State of Alabama," adding that Moore "cannot win."

  • In response, Moore told Politico: The president doesn’t control who votes for the United States Senate in Alabama."
  • Sen. Richard Shelby, the senior senator from Alabama, also said that he believes a Moore run could hand the election to Jones. In response, Moore tweeted that if "Senator Richard Shelby would have stayed out of the 2017 race, Doug Jones would not be in the Senate now."
  • In a response to Moore's announcement, the Mitch McConnell-backed Senate Leadership Fund said on Thursday: "We believe most Alabama Republicans realize that nominating Roy Moore would be gift wrapping this Senate seat for Chuck Schumer."

The big picture: The GOP's majority in the Senate has had major implications over the past two years, as judicial nominations — including two to the Supreme Court — have often been decided by a handful of votes. Now, with an aging SCOTUS and a number of judicial seats remaining vacant, the fate of just one Senate spot holds serious consequences.

What to watch: Moore is entering an already crowded field, with seven other Republicans already registered for the primary.

Go deeper: Roy Moore sees uptick in polls ahead of 2020 Senate race

Go deeper

Air quality alerts issued as California fires threaten more sequoias

The Windy Fire blazes through the Long Meadow Grove of giant sequoia trees near the Trail of 100 Giants in Sequoia National Forest, near California Hot Springs, on Tuesday. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

Two wildfires were threatening California's sequoia trees over overnight, hours after authorities issued fresh evacuation orders and warnings, along with air quality alerts on Wednesday.

The big picture: Officials in the Bay Area and the San Joaquin Valley issued air quality alerts as smoke from the Windy and KNP Complex fires resulted in hazy, "ash-filled" skies from Fresno to Tulare, the Los Angeles Times notes.

Asymptomatic Florida students exposed to COVID no longer have to quarantine

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis during a September news conference in Viera, Fla. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced Wednesday an emergency order allowing parents to decide whether their children should quarantine or stay in school if they're exposed to COVID-19, provided they're asymptomatic.

Why it matters: People infected with COVID-19 can spread the coronavirus starting from two days before they display symptoms, according to the CDC. Quarantine helps prevent the virus' spread.

Federal judge: Florida ban on sanctuary cities racially motivated

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A federal judge on Tuesday struck down parts of a Florida law aimed at banning local governments from establishing sanctuary city policies, arguing in part that the law is racially motivated and that it has the support of hate groups.

Why it matters: In a 110-page ruling issued Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom said the law — signed and championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) — violates the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause because it was adopted with discriminatory motives.