Editor’s note: Mr. Mooney is the father of Blaze Media president Gaston Mooney. Conservative Review is a Blaze Media digital property. The author’s opinions are his own and were not influenced by anyone associated with Blaze Media or Mooney’s campaign.
After several years of lackluster conservative recruitment even in red states, conservatives might have found a pick in Alabama with the news yesterday that state Rep. Arnold Mooney will run for Senate against Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala.
In the 2020 cycle, as conservatives focus on the re-election of President Trump and winning back the House, they might forget to take stock of the Senate races because of the perception that Republicans already control that chamber. Well, Republicans might control it, but conservatives in that chamber can fit into a phone booth. And absent better recruitment this cycle, there is no reason why the GOP-controlled Senate will be any better than during Trump’s first two years, when Senate Republicans refused to do anything conservative on health care, debt, judicial supremacy, or immigration. Or anything, for that matter.
This year, there are a number of RINO Senate seats up for grabs in states that Trump won in 2016, many of them by large margins.
Some of these senators, such as Alexander, Enzi, and Roberts, are retiring next year, presenting conservatives with an opportunity to shift the seats to the right, if they engage in the primaries. Others are incumbents who are still loved by many “conservative” insiders and will be tough to defeat.
Then there is Alabama, which is in a category of its own.
Due to the anomalous circumstances of the special election to fill the vacant seat of Jeff Sessions in 2017, Democrat Doug Jones now holds the seat. Trump carried the Yellowhammer State by a 28-point margin in 2016 and is still very popular in this deep red state. Thus, Doug Jones is a dead man walking with Trump on the ballot, even if Trump were to lose nationwide. The only question for conservatives is if they will elect another big-spending Republican who talks the talk on some cultural issues but won’t lead on them, or if they will actually elect a much-needed voice for the movement.
Jeff Sessions is not running again, nor is Rep. Mo Brooks. Tommy Tuberville, former Auburn football coach, an unknown quantity to conservatives, has announced his intention to run for the seat. Establishment Rep. Bradly Byrne (Liberty Score 59%) is the only main candidate in the race. Thus, conservatives have been without a reliable candidate who is not a career politician. Until yesterday.
Arnold Mooney, one of the most conservative members of the state legislature, announced his bid for the nomination next March and is likely to receive the backing of Mo Brooks.
Who is Arnold Mooney?
He is the father of Gaston Mooney, president of Blaze Media. I was honored to have helped found Conservative Review under Gaston’s leadership before CR and CRTV merged into Blaze Media. During that time, I got to know his father, Arnold, as one of the few traditional conservatives left in Republican politics.
With Jeff Sessions out of the Senate, there are almost no voices left to fight for traditional social conservatism. I’ve known Arnold to be an authentic traditional conservative who will not run from biblical values but who also is a real fiscal conservative. While in the state house the past five years, he sponsored the Ten Commandments ballot initiative to prevent federal judges from stripping our heritage and banning display of the Commandments. It was approved 72-28 percent by the state’s voters last November.
Rather than just talking about being pro-life, Mooney co-sponsored the Human Life Protection Act, one of the strongest pro-life bills in the country. The bill passed just last week and is seen as a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade. Mooney was also an original co-sponsor of HB 24, a bill signed into law in 2017 shielding faith-based adoption agencies from government intrusion and mandates to place children with families without a mother and father. This is an issue Republicans in Washington have completely abandoned, as the federal courts begin reading homosexual adoption mandates into the Constitution.
Mooney was the sponsor of state’s Right to Work constitutional amendment, which was affirmed by voters 70-30 percent on the 2016 ballot. He is also the sponsor of term limits legislation in Alabama and is running promising to force a vote on term limits in the U.S. Senate. “I’ll read the phone book if I have to to get a vote on term limits,” said Mooney on the Dale Jackson Show yesterday.
Recently, Mooney sponsored a bill to allow Alabamians to designate part of their tax refunds to help fund the border wall. Thus, he has already done what many congressional Republicans refused to fight for in numerous budget bills over the past two years. At the same time, he was one of only 18 Republicans (out of 77) to oppose Alabama’s 10-cent gas tax increase in March.
Mooney has limited experiences dealing with the D.C. swamp other than chairing the 2017 Senate campaign of Mo Brooks. Also, in the 1970s, Mooney worked for Sen. James Allen, D-Ala., one of the most conservative senators of the time. From talking to Mooney over the years, he seems very proud of Alabama’s conservative heritage. He doesn’t appear to be one to talk the talk on social conservatism in a GOP primary and then run away from his heritage the minute he steps foot in the “house of lords” like other Republicans.
While the field for the GOP primary is still unsettled, it is clear that in Alabama, conservatives will have at least one solid option to flip a seat not only from D to R but from L to C.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.