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AP

Republican Sen. Luther Strange and conservative Roy Moore will advance to a runoff election on Sept. 26 after the Alabama Republican Senate primary tonight, per NYT. Moore had consistently polled ahead of Strange leading up to this special election, and the results show a clear divide among Alabama voters who have an affinity for Trump but hate the Washington elite — something Strange largely represents to Alabama Republicans.

Moore led Strange throughout the night, leading to a runoff election in September between the two men and Democratic contender Doug Jones.

Why it matters, from The Atlantic's Molly Ball: "In Alabama, the feud is playing out as a test of conservative voters' loyalties in the Trump era—one of the first referendums on Trump's ability to command his own partisans, and by extension to shape the GOP that he leads."

Moore, from The Atlantic: "Moore, a former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, was twice removed from his post for defying federal court orders—once when he refused to remove a giant monument of the Ten Commandments from the courthouse building, and again (after voters returned him to the position) when he refused to implement the Supreme Court's decision legalizing same-sex marriage. Folksy and genial, the 70-year-old Moore has the lacquered look of an aging televangelist."

Strange: "Strange has been a senator for just six months, having been appointed to the position when his predecessor, Jeff Sessions, became Trump's attorney general. Before that, Strange was the attorney general of Alabama, overseeing the ethics investigation of the governor who, after appointing him, would resign to avoid impeachment. Before that, he was a Washington lobbyist."

The Strange scandal:

  • "The governor, Robert Bentley, was a dermatologist and Baptist deacon who was fairly well-liked until, halfway through his second term, he was publicly accused of carrying on an extramarital affair with an aide and using state resources to try and cover it up."
  • "Explicit audio recordings and text messages soon surfaced, and the state House of Representatives began impeachment proceedings."
  • "But Strange, the state attorney general, asked the lawmakers to put their investigation on hold so that his office could examine the matter."
  • "A few months later, Bentley appointed Strange to the Senate. Strange denied there was any conflict of interest or quid pro quo."
  • "Two months after that, Bentley resigned, making a deal with state prosecutors that involved pleading guilty to two misdemeanors and avoiding jail time."

Bottom line: Despite Trump's emphatic endorsement, Strange represents a so-called "swamp creature" among Republicans and conservatives in Alabama — the very type of establishment politician POTUS has vowed to drain from the swamp. "The other candidates have criticized Strange, calling him corrupt and unethical," Ball writes in The Atlantic. This proved troublesome for him in tonight's special election, and it could follow him to the runoff election on Sept. 26, ultimately revealing a seismic shift in the GOP in Trump county.

Go deeper

Updated 44 mins ago - World

Mexican President López Obrador tests positive for coronavirus

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a press conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday. Photo: Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday evening that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: López Obrador tweeted that he has mild symptoms and is receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he added. "We will all move forward."

Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor of Arkansas

Sarah Huckabee Sanders at FOX News' studios in New York City in 2019. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will announce Monday that she's running for governor of Arkansas.

The big picture: Sanders was touted as a contender after it was announced she was leaving the Trump administration in June 2019. Then-President Trump tweeted he hoped she would run for governor, adding "she would be fantastic." Sanders is "seen as leader in the polls" in the Republican state, notes the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, who first reported the news.

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.