>> In one corner, President Donald Trump, in the other, his former strategist, Steve Bannon. The two lined up behind rival candidates duking it out to win Jeff Session's old senate seat in Alabama. I'm Andy Sullivan, in Washington where Trump and Republican leaders are increasingly worried that voters may reject their pick in next Tuesday's Alabama Senate primary.
Opinion poll show that their guy, incumbent Luther Strange, is trailing behind Firebrand judge Roy Moore, who's running a torches and pitchforks campaign against his own party's leaders, promising to be a disruptive force if he makes it to the Senate. With Bannon behind him, the race is shaping up to be a crucial test for Trump.
Trump travelling to Alabama Friday night to campaign for Strange, a former State Attorney General who's proven to be a reliable Republican team player in the Senate. Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell spending millions of dollars on his behalf running negative ads against Moore.>> Moore failed to support President Trump.
Attacking Trump's border wall plan, and President Trump doesn't support him.>> Moore, best known as uncompromising state supreme court judge, he's been thrown off the bench twice. Once for refusing to remove a statue of the ten commandments from his court room, and again for defying a supreme court ruling that made gay marriage legal.
He's got the support of Tea Party heroes like Sarah Palin, and Bannon, now at Breitbart, has the far right news site running a steady stream of articles bashing Strange. Whoever wins the Republican primary on Tuesday will be heavily favored to win the general election against Democrat Doug Jones.
So the outcome isn't likely to alter the balance of power in Washington. But with such a slim GOP majority in the Senate, party leaders worry that a Moore victory could make it harder for them to pursue priorities like tax reform and could embolden other conservative outsiders to challenge incumbents in new year's congressional elections.
It's also shaping up as a high wire test of Trump's influence. He won election last year as an anti-Washington outsider. Now he's trying to tamp down a challenge from another anti-Washington outsider. We'll see if the Trump brand is bigger than the anti-establishment sentiments that he harnessed last year.
>> Let me thank the president of the United States, Donald Trump. Let's give him a hand.>>