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Candidates are running for the Senate seat previously held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions

The primary will be held August 15

Pelham, Alabama CNN —  

Two candidates for Alabama’s Senate seat railed against the involvement of a super PAC with ties to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the highly-contested race for Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ former seat.

Speaking at a candidate forum held by the Shelby County Republican Party, former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore and Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks both slammed ads pouring into the race from the Senate Leadership Fund super PAC.

The Senate Leadership Fund, founded by GOP operative Karl Rove and aligned with McConnell, has spent millions on ads supporting Sen. Luther Strange and opposing Brooks. The group released its first ad targeting Moore yesterday.

Moore, who has become a hero of the evangelical right for his opposition to gay marriage and refusal to remove a public display of the Ten Commandments from a state judicial building, called ads from the Senate Leadership Fund “scurrilous” and “vile” on Friday night.

“In this campaign, both myself and Congressman Brooks have been attacked by scurrilous, false, and deceiving and misleading ads out of Washington, DC, by a super PAC designed to keep people there they want to keep there,” Moore said at a candidate forum held by the Shelby County Republican Party.

Speaking later, Brooks, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, sought to align himself with President Donald Trump’s pledge to “drain the swamp.”

“Well who is the swamp? It’s K Street, it’s lobbyists, it’s the people who are funding one candidate’s campaign to the exclusion of all others,” Brooks said. “You can determine who the swamp’s candidate is.”

Strange was appointed to serve in the Senate earlier this year after Sessions was sworn in as attorney general. While he shared the stage with Brooks and Moore, he did not respond to the allegations lobbed against the group supporting him that has blanketed the airwaves ahead of the primary. Instead, he touted himself as an ally of President Trump, and pledged to earn the support of Alabama’s voters.

“I don’t regret my vote for President Trump,” he told the group of Republicans. “I’m not confused about that issue at all.”

He cited his work with other Republicans to force a vote on the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court, and said he wants to see Obamacare repealed immediately, noting that he already voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

“People are tired of talk,” he said. “They need results. I get results.”

The special election primary is August 15. If no candidate emerges with 50% of the vote, the top two candidates would proceed to a runoff September 26. The general election will be held December 12.