MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The crowd of people throwing their hat into the ring to challenge Sen. Luther Strange to a full term in the U.S. Senate grew by one Wednesday when suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore announced his intention to seek the seat.
Moore made his plan official during a Wednesday afternoon news conference on the steps of the Alabama Capitol, also confirming he has submitted paperwork to officially tender his resignation from the bench.
Moore was greeted by a small but enthusiastic crowd who sang 'Happy Birthday' to his wife, Kayla, and applauded with "amen" as he announced his Senate run, "a new direction" he said he's taking in his life.
"My position has always been: God first, family, then country," Moore said. "I think I share, and I know I share the vision of our president, Donald Trump, to make America great again," he added.
It had been rumored for some time that Moore might resign his seat and make a run for either the state's U.S. Senate seat or possibly enter the governor's race in 2018. One person standing behind Moore even held a sign proclaiming 'Moore for Governor'.
Moore was suspended without pay for the rest of his term as chief justice back in September, effectively removing him from the bench in every way except in title.
It was determined by the Judicial Inquiry Commission that Moore violated multiple canons of judicial ethics when he ignored federal court rulings that same-sex marriage was legal and must be allowed.
Moore fought the ruling but lost an appeal on April 19 when a special panel of the Alabama Supreme Court upheld the ruling.
Moore was previously removed from the Alabama Supreme Court's top position in the early 2000s for refusing a federal order to remove a large monument of the 10 Commandments he had installed in the court complex. He won a statewide race in 2011 to assume the seat for the second time.