HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — President Donald Trump announced Saturday that he will visit Alabama next weekend to support Sen. Luther Strange in his slugfest Republican primary with Roy Moore.
Trump, as he did his first endorsement of Strange, made the announcement via twitter. "I will be in Huntsville, Alabama, on Saturday night to support Luther Strange for Senate. 'Big Luther' is a great guy who gets things done!" Trump wrote. The Strange campaign could not immediately provide details of Trump's visit.
The presidential visit could be considered something akin to a cavalry visit for Strange, who has been forced into a tight race with Moore, despite the backing of Trump and millions in advertising dollars from allies of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The two Republicans are vying for the U.S. Senate seat that previously belonged to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Moore led Strange in the first round of GOP voting. The two face off in a Republican runoff on Sept. 26.
Moore, is a darling of state evangelical voters after twice being removed from office over stands against gay marriage and for the public display of the Ten Commandments. Moore has the backing of a number of anti-establishment forces, including the pro-Trump Great America Alliance, as he seeks to dethrone Strange, who was appointed to the seat in February.
Moore on Saturday picked up the endorsement of Freedom Caucus member Mo Brooks, the Alabama congressman who finished third in the August primary.
Brooks, speaking at a Huntsville rally for Moore, criticized negative ads run by a pro-Strange PAC against Moore, saying the "Strange-McConnell forces care not one twit about the truth."
"It's time for us to fight back. This Senate race is down to this. We are in an epic battle between the people of Alabama who put America first and the Washington swamp that hopes to buy our Senate seat and put America last," Brooks said.
Brooks said he had already voted for Moore via absentee ballot.
With a little more than a week to go until the runoff, Strange and Moore campaigned on opposite ends of Alabama this weekend, urging their voters to get to the polls in an election that's projected to have extremely low turnout. Both Strange and Moore have aligned themselves with Trump, who remains deeply popular in the blood red state.
"I'm honored to have President Trump's endorsement. I talk to him virtually every week. He's all in. He wants someone in Washington he can work with. And why does he pick me? Because I've been in Washington for the last seven months working tirelessly to promote his agenda," Strange told a meeting of the Baldwin County Young Republicans at a Fairhope restaurant.
"All the polls that we've seen show that it's a dead heat, very close within the margin of error one way or the other. The question will be who gets their voters out to the polls," Strange said.
At the rally in Huntsville, Moore said the Republican-controlled Senate is failing Trump. Along with the Huntsville rally where Brooks appeared, Moore made stops at a GOP club meeting and churches in north Alabama.
"The Senate doesn't want to change. They don't want to do what President Trump was elected to do. I feel his frustration. I feel his anger in winning the Republican nomination and going to Congress and having Republicans turn their backs on him. We need to do something," Moore said.