Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle joins growing list of establishment Republicans endorsing Roy Moore

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Republican Roy Moore has defeated a crowded field of candidates, including the heavily financed sitting U.S. Sen. Luther Strange to win his party’s nomination.

Now party and establishment officials are gathering behind Moore, supporting his candidacy.

The latest is Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, who is a Republican candidate for governor. During an interview Friday with Reckon by AL.com columnist Kyle Whitmire, Battle said he would endorse Moore.

Whitmire had pressed Battle on the issue of whether Moore, an outspoken conservative Christian and opponent of same-sex marriage, would make it harder for Alabama to recruit new business.

Battle said Moore wouldn’t hamper Alabama’s business recruiting, then announced he stands with Moore.

“You’ve seen all the Republicans, I’m a Republican, I’ll end up endorsing Roy Moore, for the Senate,” Battle said. “Because as Republicans we back the Republican ticket, and you will see all the Republicans backing Roy Moore. Will there be a backlash on the state? No.”

Battle is better known for his focus on business and community rather than social issues.

Whitmire questioned whether any state Republican would oppose Moore. He argued Moore’s labeling homosexuality a criminal offense and his brand of Christianity would turn off business leaders and make it hard for them to bring workers to the state.

But Battle cited his experience in business recruiting in arguing Moore’s election would not hamper business development. He said business leaders don’t focus on politicians, they care about things like the cost of doing business. He said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos already knows Alabama and has decided to locate his Blue Origin space flight company in Huntsville.

Moore has picked up a number of endorsements in recent weeks.

The Alabama Republican Party said on Tueday all six GOP members of the Alabama U.S. House delegation were endorsing Moore. Outspoken conservative U.S. Steve King, R-Iowa has also endorsed Moore.

On Wednesday, U.S. John Cornyn, R-Texas, joined his Senate colleagues Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Rand Paul, who had all previously endorsed Moore.

A number of members of the Alabama Legislature have said they support Moore, including Alabama House Speaker Mac McCutcheon and Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh, who was considered a potential rival to Moore for the Senate seat.

President Trump has pledged to campaign for Moore and former trump strategist Steve Bannon was an early Moore supporter. He was joined by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in campaigning for Moore.

And it’s not just politicians, Moore is also backed by Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson and actor Chuck Norris.

Democrat Doug Jones has been endorsed by former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and civil rights icon U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia.