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Monday September 25th, 2017 5:52AM

The Latest: Strange, Moore head to runoff in GOP Senate race

By The Associated Press
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Latest on Alabama's special primary election for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions (all times local):

9 p.m.

Sen. Luther Strange and former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore are headed to a Republican primary runoff to fill the U.S. Senate seat previously held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The two men, who represent different factions within the Alabama Republican Party, will face off in a Sept. 26 runoff.

Strange was appointed to the Senate seat in February by the state's then governor. He was unable to escape a runoff despite being buoyed by an endorsement by President Donald Trump.

Moore harnessed his support among evangelical voters to secure a spot in the runoff. A judicial discipline panel twice removed Moore from his duties as chief justice.

The runoff winner will face the Democratic nominee in a Dec. 12 election.

___

8:45 p.m.

Doug Jones, a lawyer and former U.S. attorney under the Clinton administration, has won the Democratic primary in Alabama for U.S. Senate

Jones was the victor in a crowded field of Democrats vying for the Senate seat previously held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He will face the Republican winner in a Dec. 12 election.

Jones is perhaps best known for leading the prosecution of two Klansmen for the 1963 bombing of a Birmingham church that killed four little girls.

While Alabama has not been represented by a Democrat in the U.S. Senate in 20 years, Jones has said Democrats must not concede the seat without a fight. He says Democrats can win if they can turn the conversation to "kitchen table issues" such as wages, health care and jobs.

___

8:15 p.m.

Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore has jumped to an early lead in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate seat that previously held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

With 20 percent of precincts reporting Tuesday night, Moore had secured nearly 40 percent of the vote. Sen. Luther Strange, who was appointed to fill the post temporarily, was second with 31 percent. U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks was third with 20 percent.

The race will head to a runoff unless a candidate gets 50 percent of the vote.

On the Democratic side, former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones led the early returns with nearly 65 percent of the vote with 25 percent of polling places reporting.

The winning Democrat and Republican will face off in a general election in December.

___

7:25 p.m.

Voting is coming to a close in the Alabama Senate primary.

Voters went to the polls Tuesday to select party nominees for the U.S. Senate seat that previously belonged to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Polls were scheduled to close at 7 p.m.

Republican Sen. Luther Strange, who was appointed to fill the post temporarily, is seeking to fight off challengers that include former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore and U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks.

Democratic contenders include former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones, environmentalist Michael Hansen and Navy veteran Robert Kennedy Jr.

The primaries will go to a September runoff unless a candidate gets more than 50 percent of Tuesday's vote.

The winning Democrat and Republican will face off in a general election in December.

___

12:45 p.m.

Turnout could be even lower than expected in Alabama's Senate primary.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said Tuesday afternoon that turnout could be as low as 10 percent to 15 percent if the trend continues.

Polling places across the state reported light traffic in the morning. Merrill originally projected turnout at between 20 and 25 percent, significantly lower than the 30 percent seen in a typical primary election.

Voters are selecting party nominees for the U.S. Senate seat previously held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The primaries will go to a September runoff unless a candidate gets more than 50 percent of Tuesday's vote.

The winning Democrat and Republican will face off in a general election in December.

___

11:45 a.m.

Former Alabama Chief Justice and Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore rode a horse to the polls as he voted in the state's special Senate primary on Tuesday.

Moore wore a black T-shirt saying "military police" and a black cowboy hat as he dismounted at the Gallant Volunteer Fire Department, where he votes in northeastern Alabama.

Moore jokingly looked shocked when a poll worker asked if he wanted to vote in the GOP or Democratic primary.

He then took only a few seconds to mark his ballot -- presumably for himself. Moore says it's odd to have only one race on a statewide ballot.

Moore is among a group of candidates for the seat previously held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He says riding a horse to vote is a family tradition.

___

7:30 a.m.

Polls have opened across Alabama as voters cast ballots in party primary elections for the U.S. Senate seat previously held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Republican Sen. Luther Strange, who was appointed to fill the post temporarily, is seeking to fight off challengers that include former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore and U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks.

President Donald Trump has endorsed Strange and recorded automatic phone calls on his behalf.

Brooks has criticized Strange's backing by a super political action committee tied to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Democratic contenders include former U.S. attorney Doug Jones, environmentalist Michael Hansen and Navy veteran Robert Kennedy, Jr.

The primaries will go to a runoff unless a candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote Tuesday.

___

4:45 a.m.

Alabama voters will be casting ballots Tuesday in party primaries for the U.S. Senate seat previously held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Voting begins at 7 a.m.

Republican Sen. Luther Strange, who was appointed to fill the post temporarily, is seeking to fight off challengers that include former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore and U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks.

President Donald Trump has endorsed Strange and recorded automatic phone calls on his behalf.

Brooks has criticized Strange's backing by a super political action committee tied to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Democratic contenders include a former U.S. attorney Doug Jones, environmentalist Michael Hansen and navy veteran Robert Kennedy, Jr.

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