Those who have been missing Judge Roy Moore’s bizarre religiopolitical stylings will be cheered to see him back in the news. The theocrat who managed to lose a Senate special election in one of the reddest precincts of the Bible Belt is offering his dubious blessing to Courtland Sykes, an obscure, parachuted-in-from-nowhere Senate candidate in Missouri who made his own news last month with a statement chock-full of insults to feminists — or as he called them, “nail-biting, manophobic hell-bent feminist she devils” with “nasty, snake-filled” minds.
Moore’s outstretched hand to a fellow wing nut is not as fortuitous as it might sound. Press accounts from Moore’s bitter election night in December quoted Sykes (and his fiancée, a right-wing social-media presence named Chanel Rion, who called Moore’s sexual-misconduct accusers “floozies”) as among the faithful who were blasting “Establishment Republicans” for Doug Jones’s win.
So the judge had reason to think of Sykes as “a man of impeccable character, courage and Christian faith,” as he called him in his endorsement statement.
You do have to wonder what Sykes’s next trick will be to make himself sound like a credible candidate in a state he apparently moved to very recently. As a slavish MAGA man, he’d obviously love a nod from the White House. But Trump endorsed front-running Attorney General Josh Hawley during a trip to Missouri last November.
For his part, Hawley has had his own issues recently with religious-extremist associations, thanks to an appearance at an event dripping with Christian-nationalist types in which he seemed to blame sex trafficking on America’s abandonment of “Biblical truths” about sex and family. So it might be fine with him that another candidate is in the field who makes him look sensibly centrist.
As for Moore, he now has plenty of time on his hands to meddle in GOP politics in other states. He resigned his position as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court (he had already been suspended for his refusal to accept federal court orders on same-sex marriage) to launch his ultimately unsuccessful Senate race. Many Republicans in Alabama and elsewhere hope that he’s waged his last campaign. But you never know with Moore, as the Associated Press noted after his defeat:
Moore could run for governor in 2018. It would be his third gubernatorial bid, after failed runs in 2006 and 2010. He could also oppose Jones in 2020, when his shortened term ends. At 70, Moore is too old under state law to run for judicial office.
Or he could just use his tarnished authority to encourage others to follow in his twisted path.