Moore, Strange advance to GOP runoff in Alabama special election

The race has featured fierce infighting on the GOP side.

On the Democratic side, the AP projected that former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones — best known for leading the prosecution of two Klansmen for the 1963 bombing of a Birmingham church — won the nomination, avoiding a runoff.

With about two-thirds of the votes counted, the AP reported that Moore finished first with 41 percent, followed by Strange with 32 percent and Brooks with close to 20 percent. In Alabama elections, a candidate must win more than 50 percent of the vote to win outright; otherwise, the top two vote getters must compete in a runoff.

Moore is well known in the state and has raised eyebrows for his stances and judgments from Alabama's Supreme Court. He previously served as the state's chief justice but was suspended in November 2003 and then removed from the bench for refusing federal court orders to take down a Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama Judicial Building. In 2012 he won election to the position again and last September was suspended once more, for the rest of his term, in part for directing the state's probate judges to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples. He resigned in April to run for the Senate.

Moore celebrated the news earlier tonight in a tweet.

The runoff election is scheduled for Sept. 26, and the general election will be held on Dec. 12.