Trump endorsement puts new spin on fierce Alabama Senate race

Sen. Luther Strange is a big man. The 6-foot-9-inch former state attorney general played college basketball at Tulane and towers over nearly everyone else in the Senate hallways.

And on Tuesday night, “Big Luther” picked up a big endorsement — President Trump’s — in his bid to hold onto his seat, vacated by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Trump told his 35 million Twitter followers he was offering his “complete and total” support for Strange’s campaign.

As voters head to the polls next week, Strange is fighting to place among the top two vote-getters in the GOP primary and ensure he advances to the Sept. 26 runoff.

A poll released Monday showed former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore leading the race with 30 percent, with both Strange and Rep. Mo Brooks hovering around 20 percent.

Although Trump’s approval rating is dismal nationally, his nod is a big get for Strange in the heavily Republican state. Strange’s campaign team quickly released an ad featuring Trump’s endorsement. 

“Historically, Alabamians have resented endorsements. … However, in this case, Trump is undoubtedly extremely popular in Alabama,” Steve Flowers, a political commentator and former GOP state legislator, told Yahoo News. “Even though the rest of the country thinks of him as a clown, he seems to resonate well.”

He added, “The bottom line on the endorsement is it does help Luther Strange solidify his position in the runoff.”

But Brooks says Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., misled Trump to secure the endorsement for Strange.  

“I believe Mitch McConnell put together an offer that President Trump could not refuse,” he told Yahoo News. “What the details of Mitch McConnell’s offer may have been I cannot say.”

Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks announces his candidacy for the U.S. Senate in Huntsville. (Photo: Bob Gathany/AL.com via AP)

Brooks and Moore have blasted the D.C. establishment, tying themselves to Trump and painting Strange as part of a do-nothing GOP caucus that couldn’t dismantle Obamacare. Both have been critical of McConnell and have indicated that, if elected, they would not vote for him as majority leader.

“Mitch McConnell has a job to do, a job as majority leader, and he has failed at that job,” Brooks said. “The Senate is a place where the Republican agenda, the conservative agenda and President Donald Trump’s legislative agenda have all gone to die. With the exception of the confirmation of…

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