GALLANT, Ala.— On Election Day, Republican Roy Moore warned me and some other reporters that we might get run over by his horse.

Mr. Moore and his wife had saddled up on Tuesday and arrived at their polling place on horseback, as they have in past elections. After they cast their ballots, some 50 reporters fell over each other in trying to ask Mr. Moore questions and shoot videos as he and his wife mounted their horses.

“She...

GALLANT, Ala.— On Election Day, Republican Roy Moore warned me and some other reporters that we might get run over by his horse.

Mr. Moore and his wife had saddled up on Tuesday and arrived at their polling place on horseback, as they have in past elections. After they cast their ballots, some 50 reporters fell over each other in trying to ask Mr. Moore questions and shoot videos as he and his wife mounted their horses.

“She is a polite rider,” Mr. Moore said of his wife, Kayla, who had pulled the bridle on her horse to keep it from trampling a few reporters crowded around her.

He let us know that he might not go through the trouble of keeping his horse calm, as his wife had done. “If you get in the way, you will get run over,” he said.

I got out of the way, as did others, and the Republican candidate for Senate rode off.

Advertisement

It was a theatrical moment in an election that has defied expectations many times over. A central element has been voter reaction to allegations against Mr. Moore of sexual misconduct with teenaged girls, including one who was 14, when he was in his 30s. Mr. Moore has denied the accusations.

In Mountain Brook, a wealthy suburb of Birmingham, a large majority of lawn signs backed Doug Jones, Mr. Moore’s Democratic opponent. The community had backed Sen. Luther Strange, the Republican incumbent, over Mr. Moore in the GOP primary in September.

But Randy Lolly said he was backing Mr. Moore. Mr. Lolly, an electrician wearing denim overalls, said the sexual-misconduct allegations were part of a smear campaign, and that he didn’t believe the women accusing Mr. Moore.

“I just don’t think there’s nothing to it,” he said.

Advertisement

Mr. Lolly said he favored Mr. Moore because of “his beliefs. You know he’s a Christian.”

Bruce and Donna Adams of Dothan, Ala., who said they had had the time of their lives at a Trump rally during the 2016 campaign, also said they supported Mr. Moore in large part because they share his religious beliefs.

Mr. Moore’s hopes of victory turned in large part on turning out the evangelical base that had supported him when he ran for statewide office before. He built a core following as chief justice of the State Supreme Court, a job he lost twice because he refused to obey court orders to allow same-sex marriage and take down a Ten Commandments monument on state property.

With the much-discussed race for a Senate seat in Alabama now behind us, the political world's attention turns to the 2018 midterm elections. WSJ's Gerald F. Seib examines whether Democrats can take back control of the House in the new year. Photo: Getty

Donna Adams, who attended Mr. Moore’s Monday night rally with former Trump White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, said she didn’t believe Mr. Moore’s accusers. “They’re coming out now about stuff that happened 30, 40 years ago. Why are they just coming out now?” she asked. “Plus, people change. He might have been a different man.”

Advertisement

Ms. Adams’s husband, Bruce, chimed in: “And it was a different time. I mean, 40 years ago in Alabama people were getting married at 14.”

Lisa Marie, by contrast, said she was disturbed by the accusations against Mr. Moore. A Los Angeles transplant who moved to Mountain Brook 11 years ago, Ms. Marie said she worried that the allegations would hurt the state’s reputation. “This place has so much going for it, but the rest of the country only hears things that make them think, ‘backwoods Alabama,’ ” she said. “But we can be kind of hip.”

Many Jones supporters have said they support him because they dislike Mr. Moore. “If he’s elected, it’d be so bad for Alabama,” said Roxanna Wingard, a school-bus driver in Montgomery County.

Write to Joshua Jamerson at joshua.jamerson@wsj.com

Advertisement