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Will Roy Moore Be the GOP's Ralph Nader in 2012?

August 15, 2011 - 6:00pm

Roy Moore, the former chief justice of the Alabama state Supreme Court, who made national headlines for his defense of a Ten Commandments monument in his courtroom, has left the door open to running for president on the Constitution Party line.

Moore, who has launched an exploratory committee for the Republican presidential nomination, will be speaking to the Constitution Partys Southern Regional Meeting in Alabama on Sept. 24 where he will be joined by Maryland attorney Michael Peroutka, who was the partys presidential candidate back in 2004. Moore will also be speaking at a national event backed by the Constitution Party in Coeur d Alene, Idaho, in early October. Moore also accepted an award from the Institute on the Constitution, a group affiliated with Peroutka, earlier in the year.

While he made some appearances in Iowa in 2010 and 2011, Moores bid for the Republican nomination has gained little traction, through the candidate being injured when he fell from a horse and family problems that have not helped set the bandwagon rolling. During the 2010 campaign cycle, Moore campaigned in Iowa to remove three members of that states Supreme Court who backed giving marriage rights to same-sex couples. Iowa conservative activist Danny Carroll, who had been active in Mike Huckabees triumph in the Hawkeye State in 2008, had been leading Moores efforts in the state, though he later jumped over to back Michele Bachmann.

Even though the Moore campaign is stalled, his team insists he is, for the moment, still in the race as a Republican -- though the door is remains open to making a third-party bid.

Judge Moore still has an exploratory committee formed and he continues to weigh his options, although no decisions have been made, a source close to Moore informed Sunshine State News on Tuesday.

Moore, a West Point graduate and Vietnam veteran, was elected as chief justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama in 2000, taking 55 percent over the Democratic candidate. Moore served until 2003 when he was removed after disobeying a federal judges ruling that the Ten Commandments monument violated the establishment clause.

While the controversy over the monument made Moore a favorite of religious conservative activists, his two campaigns for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in Alabama were not successful. Moore challenged then-Gov. Bob Riley for the Republican nomination in 2006 but took 35 percent against the incumbents 65 percent. In 2010, Moore came in fourth place in the gubernatorial primary. Moore has remained active on civic matters through the Foundation for Moral Law which defends religion in the public square.

Activists in the Constitution Party attempted to recruit Moore to run as their presidential candidate in 2004 and 2008; he declined both times. The Constitution Party has often attempted -- with varying degrees of success -- to recruit Republicans in presidential and statewide elections. Efforts were made to lure Pat Buchanan to run on the Constitution line during the 1990s and then U.S. Sen. Bob Smith of New Hampshire had seriously considered being their candidate for the 2000 presidential election. Alan Keyes ran for the Constitution Partys presidential nomination in 2008 but he lost out to Pensacola-based pastor Chuck Baldwin. Former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, who received national headlines for his calls to secure the border and made a brief bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, ran for governor of Colorado in 2010 on the American Constitution Party line, the state affiliate of the national Constitution Party, and he beat out the Republican in the race for second. Former Virginia Congressman Virgil Goode has also become active with the Constitution Party and could be a possible candidate.

While Ralph Nader has offered challenges to the left in presidential elections in the last three general elections, the only major challenge to the Republicans from the right in recent years has been from Buchanan in 2000. Buchanan garnered 0.4 percent in the general election as the Reform Party candidate.

Reach Kevin Derby at or at (850) 727-0859.

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