Washington • Sen. Mike Lee of Utah has endorsed GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore in Alabama, adding the Utah Republican’s star power among conservatives to Moore’s bid for the seat vacated by now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Lee said Monday that he would back the former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice because it’s important for Republicans to keep the seat. Moore was twice ousted from heading Alabama’s top court after refusing to abide by federal court rulings — one an order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the courthouse and a second to recognize the legality of same-sex marriage.

Lee — described in a news release by Moore’s campaign as a “tenacious advocate for the rule of law, principled conservatism, and the Constitution as envisioned by our nation’s Founding Fathers” — has lent his support to many Republicans across the country, including many fellow tea-party darlings challenging establishment candidates.

If there was ever a time to ensure that Republicans maintain a seat in the United States Senate, it is now,” Lee said. “That is why I am proudly endorsing Judge Roy Moore for United States Senate. Alabamians have the chance to send a proven, conservative fighter to the United States Senate and I am more than ready to welcome a trusted ally.”

Lee added that Moore’s “tested reputation of integrity is exactly what we need in Washington, D.C.”

Lee was elected to the Senate in 2010 after vanquishing then-Sen. Bob Bennett, who had support of mainstream Republicans.

President Donald Trump had supported Moore’s GOP competitor, Luther Strange, in the primary election, while Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon backed Moore. Trump is now supporting Moore.

Moore’s campaign heralded Lee’s endorsement.

“Senator Lee has staunchly defended our constitutional liberties in the United States Senate and I am honored to receive his support and endorsement,” Moore said in a statement. “I am eager to work alongside of him in the United States Senate to ensure our national security, cut government spending, and defend our Constitution.”