Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon will campaign with embattled Judge Roy Moore next week ahead of the vote in Alabama’s neck-and-neck US Senate race.
Bannon will join Moore at a rally in Fairhope, Alabama, on December 5 – one week before Moore, a Republican, faces Democrat Doug Jones in a special election for Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ former seat.
“I look forward to standing with Judge Moore and all of the Alabama deplorables in the fight to elect him to the United States Senate,” Bannon told CNN, “and send shockwaves to the political and media elites.”
The rally will kick off the final week of campaigning before the crucial vote.
“We are incredibly grateful for Bannon’s support,” said Hannah Ford, Moore’s deputy campaign manager.
Bannon agreed two weeks ago to return to Alabama for a campaign event with Moore, according to two sources, one of whom was familiar with Bannon’s thinking and another who was close to the campaign.
In the last stretch of the election, Moore has sought to pull out of a political tailspin following allegations by multiple women that he pursued them sexually as teenagers when he was in his 30s, including one woman who was 14 years old at the time.
Moore has denied those allegations, calling them “completely false” and “dirty politics.” But public polling suggested they damaged his candidacy, at least initially, with Jones pulling even with Moore or ahead of him in some surveys.
Many Republicans, meanwhile, have publicly abandoned Moore – with some calling for him to quit the race and others threatening to expel him from the Senate should he win.
But Moore has maintained a loyal base of support throughout the controversy, and some influential conservatives have been reluctant to disown him. Notably, President Donald Trump weighed in against Jones, tweeting that he “would be a disaster!” The President stopped short of praising Moore, however.
Bannon was among Moore’s prominent cheerleaders during the heated Republican primary runoff, when the judge faced Sen. Luther Strange, who was appointed to fill the vacancy when Sessions took his new post. The endorsement pitted Bannon against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose allies spent tens of millions of dollars in an effort to boost Strange.
Now, with McConnell and other Republicans having denounced Moore, Bannon will be a key surrogate to join Moore in the campaign’s final days.
CNN’s Eric Bradner contributed to this report.