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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

Texas Republicans pass new congressional maps in their favor

Photo: Matthew Busch/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Texas House voted 84-59 late Monday to approve new congressional district maps that reduce the number of districts with Black and Hispanic majorities, per the Texas Tribune.

Why it matters: The legislation comes after recent census figures found Texas' growing diverse population doesn't bode well for Republicans, who then worked to protect incumbents with the redrawn maps.

2 hours ago - World

North Korea's military fires another ballistic missile into sea

A woman in Seoul, South Korea, walks past a television image if North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Photo: Jung Yeon-je/AFP via Getty Images

North Korea's military fired at least one ballistic missile into the sea off its east coast on Tuesday, per multiple reports.

Why it matters: Pyongyang's latest in a series of recent missile launches happened hours after U.S. officials emphasized their commitment to restart negotiations on North Korea's nuclear weapons program, which have stalled since talks broke down during the Trump administration, AP notes.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump sues National Archives, Jan. 6 committee to block records request

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to block the National Archives from releasing White House records to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, citing executive privilege.

Why it matters: It's the latest escalation in Trump's campaign to disrupt the committee's sweeping probe into the circumstances surrounding Jan. 6, including his actions and communications leading up to the Capitol attack.