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Carson Breaks With Trump In Alabama Senate Race

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Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson has announced he is backing Roy Moore in the election to fill the Alabama Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Moore is the rival of Luther Strange, who enjoys the backing of President Donald Trump, according to Politico.

Carson announced his endorsement of Moore in a written statement Sept. 22, the same day Trump was set to travel to Montgomery, Alabama, to speak at a rally for Strange.

"Judge Moore is a fine man of proven character and integrity, who I have come to respect over the years," added Carson, Politico reported. "I was delighted to hear he is running for the U.S. Senate."

Moore returned the compliments in a tweet.

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"I'm honored to have the support of a truly honorable and brilliant man, HUD Secretary Ben Carson," wrote Moore.

Moore has led Strange in the polls, although the gap has closed. Trump endorsed Strange in early August.

"Will be in Alabama tonight," Trump tweeted. "Luther Strange has gained mightily since my endorsement, but will be very close. He loves Alabama, and so do I!"

According to a Sept. 21 CNN report, Trump considered withdrawing his backing for Strange when the senator fell behind in the polls.

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But White House staffers reportedly convinced Trump to stick with Strange. Trump won Alabama by a substantial margin in the presidential election.

Trump wrote on Twitter that gun owners should vote for Strange, who secured backing from the National Rifle Association.

"He won't let you down!" Trump added, according to CNN.

In addition to Trump's visit, Vice President Mike Pence will hold a rally with Strange in Birmingham on Sept. 25.

In an interview Sept. 21, Strange stated that he has developed "a personal friendship of trust and respect" with Trump.

"I respect his background, what he's trying to do, the challenges he's taking on," added Strange. "I think he recognizes that in my background ... I think we have a personal relationship and he needs a partner in Washington desperately."

Moore is a favorite among anti-establishment conservatives, including former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and Trump's former chief political adviser Stephen Bannon. He has been accused of expressing controversial positions, such as in a 2005 interview in which he said that "homosexual conduct should be illegal."

Moore also stated as late as December 2016 that it is his "personal belief" that former President Barack Obama was not a natural-born citizen of the U.S.

Sources: Politico, CNN / Featured Image: U.S. Government/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Senator Strange/Twitter via Wikimedia Commons, Gage Skidmore/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons

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