Unless your name is Roy Moore.
Moore, a Republican, is aiming to return to his former position as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court — a position he lost because he ignored a federal court order to remove his Ten Commandments monument from Alabama’s judicial building.
Until recently, Moore’s lingering popularity with the state’s evangelical voters and lack of legitimate Democratic opposition had made him the likely favorite in the November election. But circumstances have changed.
The state Democratic Party removed controversial Pelham attorney Harry Lyon from the ballot and replaced him with Robert Vance, a Jefferson County circuit judge who gives Moore a worthy and genuine opponent. What’s more, a handful of Republicans who would normally vote for the GOP candidate have announced that Moore isn’t their man; it’s Vance, the Democrat.
It seems Moore’s legacy of forcing religion into the courtroom and defying a federal court order — and, we assume, concerns about future controversy — is haunting him within his own party. That shouldn’t be a surprise.
Recently, former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Gorman Houston became the first prominent Republican to announce his support of Vance. That was especially significant given that Houston was a Moore supporter in the 2000 election.
This week, former U.S. Rep. Jack Edwards of Point Clear told the Mobile Press-Register that he, too, had switched his support to the Democratic candidate. Said Edwards, “Finding the right man for the job goes beyond party affiliation. Make no mistake, I am a Republican, but in the race for chief justice the only qualified person for the job is Bob Vance, a Democrat.”
It’s rare for today’s Alabama Republicans and Alabama Democrats to make such an awkward move. Here, however, Moore has only himself to blame. His political and legal sins of the past are not easily forgotten — not even in his own party.