Alabamians head to the polls to vote in special Senate election

Alabamians head to the polls to vote in special Senate election

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - It's the day we've been talking about for weeks, the special runoff election for the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate.

Roy Moore and Luther Strange will be the only names on the ballot. Democrat Doug Jones has already secured his spot.

Senate profile: Roy Moore

If you know Alabama politics, you know Roy Moore has been in the forefront for almost two decades now. Moore is originally from Gadsden and served in the U.S. Army after graduating from West Point in 1969.

As he points out in this campaign ad, he commanded a military police unit in Vietnam, left the Army as a captain in 1974 and went to law school at the University of Alabama.

Moore entered politics in the 80's when he ran for, but lost several races for judge positions in Etowah County. In 1992, he was appointed as an Etowah County circuit judge, then won a term of his own two years later.

Even then, religion was a part of Moore's courtroom, and the ACLU had a close eye on his dealings, filing suits against his use of prayer and a ten commandments monument.

In 2000, Moore was elected to be the chief justice of the Alabama supreme court, after campaigning heavily on religious messages and anti-gay sentiments. In 2001, he installed a massive granite display of the Ten Commandments in the state judicial building.

After several lawsuits, Moore was ordered to remove the monument. He refused and was booted from office in 2003 for defying a federal order. Moore continued to be visible in Alabama politics, with unsuccessful runs for Governor in 2006 and 2010.

In 2012, he ran for his old position as Alabama's Chief Justice and won with 52 percent of the vote. But, Moore's tenure was again cut short and he was suspended from office.

This time, it was after he ordered probate judges to ignore the Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage in 2015. He lost several appeals before resigning the job to run for Senate in April.

Senate Profile: Luther Strange

Luther Strange used a career as a lobbyist as a springboard into Alabama politics. Strange is originally from Birmingham and lived in Sylacauga and Homewood growing up.

He earned a law degree from Tulane, where he was a scholarship basketball player. He represented natural gas companies and was later a lobbyist for offshore drilling companies in Washington.

Strange's first political campaign was in 2006 when he ran for lieutenant governor. He won a hotly contested Republican primary but lost to Jim Folsom Jr. in November. In 2010, Strange surprised a lot of people when he easily defeated long-time Attorney General Troy King in the Republican primary.

He cruised to victory in November and had no issues winning re-election in 2014. Strange's biggest case as attorney general was dealing with the fallout from the BP oil spill. He helped win the case and bring in a massive settlement for Alabama and other gulf coast states.

But, Strange may best be known for how his office handled two political scandals. First, the prosecution and removal of former house speaker Mike Hubbard in 2016. Then, the investigation into former Governor Robert Bentley that forced him to resign earlier this year. Strange personally recused himself from both cases. In February of this year, Strange was appointed to fill Alabama's vacant Senate seat. Some critics said it was suspicious that Governor Bentley would appoint a person in charge of the office investigating him.

Strange has strongly denied any wrongdoing and made it clear he was going to run for the seat on his own even if he wasn't appointed.

Exclusive Raycom Poll and Cross-over Voting

In our exclusive Raycom Media poll taken last week, Roy Moore had a 6 point lead over Strange. We'll be here to see if those results hold true or if big-name supporters, like President Trump, sway voters the other way.

We'll have crews live in Homewood and in Montgomery keeping up with the candidates and bringing you minute-by-minute updates of election results.

We also want to remind you that cross-over voting is illegal now in Alabama. That means, if you voted in the Democratic primary in August, you cannot vote today in the Republican runoff. Every registered voter can vote in the General election on Tuesday, December 12. Voting polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

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