Alabama voters have elected conservative firebrand Roy Moore as the Republican nominee for a US Senate seat on Tuesday, dealing a blow to President Donald Trump.
An outspoken evangelical Christian, Moore won election with a fierce anti-Washington message and a call to put religion at the centre of public life.
“We have to return the knowledge of God and the Constitution of the United States to the United States Congress,” he said.
With all 67 counties reporting, Moore led Strange by 55 per cent to 45 per cent.
Despite campaigning for Strange, Trump congratulated Moore for his victory and urged him to defeat Democrat Doug Jones in the December election to fill a seat that was held by Jeff Sessions before he became Trump’s Attorney-General.
“Congratulations to Roy Moore on his Republican Primary win in Alabama. Luther Strange started way back & ran a good race. Roy, WIN in Dec!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Moore is favoured to win the December election, as Alabama has not elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1992.
The 70-year-old first lost his seat on the Alabama Supreme Court for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the courthouse and a second time for defying the US Supreme Court’s decision to legalise same-sex marriage.
Trump and Vice President Mike Pence appeared with Strange at rallies in the race’s closing days.
But Moore said he would back the president if he gets to Washington.
“Don’t let anybody in the press think that because he supported my opponent I do not support him and support his agenda,” Moore said.