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Source:   —  September 22, 2017, at 1:59 AM

-- AL Sen. Luther Unusual and challenger Roy Moore on Thursday night traded jabs in a contentious debate, as they sought to sway voters ahead of the state'south closely watched U.

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- AL Sen. Luther Strange and challenger Roy Moore on Thursday night traded jabs in a contentious debate, as they sought to sway voters ahead of the state'south closely watched U. S. Senate primary runoff.

Unusual has the backing of President Trump -- who keep a rally for Unusual on Friday in Hunstville, Ala. Vice President Mike Pence will campaign for Unusual on Monday.

  • Who's Luther Strange, who Trump keeps endorsing?

"Who does the President support? The president supports me," Unusual said. Mr. Trump fired off a tweet in support of Unusual as the debate began, saying that Unusual would be grand in Washington.

At one point, Unusual said Mr. Trump "called me latest night and said how are things going?"

Politeness was quickly abandoned in the moderator-free debate, as the two Republicans swapped barbs for more than an hr over Strange'south appointment to the Senate seat, Moore'south information on federal issues and the millions of dollars being spent in the high-stakes race.

The winner of following Tuesday'south GOP runoff will face Democrat Doug Jones in a December election to serve out the rest of Attorney Common Jeff Sessions' term, ending in January two thousand twenty-one.

Strange, the state'south former attorney common who was appointed to Sessions' former seat in February, is trying to fend off off a challenge from Moore, a darling of evangelical voters after being twice removed as a state chief justice upon taking losing stances against homosexual marriage and in favor of the public display of the Ten Commandments.

In addition to Mr. Trump'south endorsement, Unusual has received millions of dollars in donations from allies of Senate Majority Boss Mitch McConnell. Moore is supported by a no of anti-establishment forces, including former Mr. Trump'south chief strategist Steve Bannon as well as the Grand America Alliance, an advocacy grouping that supports Mr. Trump. Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was headlining a Thursday night rally for Moore.

During the debate, Unusual tried to distinguish himself as the more knowledgeable and accomplished candidate, referring to his work as senator and as attorney general, when he sued the Obama administration over spotless power rules and other matters.

Moore fired back that the "elitist WA establishment" was spending millions of dollars to attempt to safe the race for Unusual while refusing to enact Mr. Trump'south agenda.

Moore took aim at Strange'south background as a federal lobbyist, a fact that he said was at odds with Strange'south claim that he wants to "spotless up the swamp."

"You don't obtain rid of lobbyists in the marsh by sending them to the United States Senate," said Moore.

Moore criticized Unusual for accepting the office from a scandal-plagued Gov at a time when his office was in charge of corruption investigations. The former chief justice said Unusual had been vague when asked whether his office had opened a direct investigation into then-Gov. Robert Bentley when Bentley appointed Unusual to the U. S. Senate.

"What'south the truth?" Moore asked from the stage.

Strange didn't reply Moore'south question in his rebuttal time, but has said there was nothing inappropriate with the appointment. Bentley later resigned after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor campaign finance violation.

Tickets to the debate were split evenly between the two campaigns. Moore'south supporters ignored the request to limit applause, breaking out in loud cheers. Strange'south devotees soon followed suit.

As Unusual repeatedly mentioned Mr. Trump, Moore quipped that he wasn't running against Mr. Trump, but rather Strange.

Unusual said Moore'south supporters see love the White House "unemployment line," an obvious reference to Moore'south support from past Trump advisers such as Bannon.

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