Tags: Roy Moore | doug jones | roy moore | alabama

Alabama Was Referendum on Nothing More Than Roy Moore

Alabama Was Referendum on Nothing More Than Roy Moore
Roy Moore looks over vote results Tuesday night. (AP)

By Wednesday, 13 December 2017 12:45 AM Current | Bio | Archive

As soon as Fox News projected Democrat Doug Jones the winner of Alabama's U.S. Senate race Tuesday night, pundits and Democratic pols began proclaiming his win over Republican Roy Moore as a negative referendum on the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress.

That former U.S. attorney and first-time office-seeker Jones could come from nowhere to become the first Democrat to win a Senate seat from Alabama since 1992, they agreed, did not bode well for Republicans. Coupled with the Democratic win of the Virginia governorship last month, national Democrats were forecasting Jones' triumph as a "dress rehearsal" for big gains in the midterm elections of 2018.

But upon close scrutiny of what happened in the internationally-watched race in the Yellowhammer State, one finds it's all moonshine.

"I always said that Democrats couldn't win the Senate election in Alabama, but Republicans sure could lose it--and they did," former State GOP Chairman Marty Connors told Newsmax shortly after the networks made their projections, "They nominated the one candidate who was controversial enough to put a Democrat over the top--and by a razor thin [49.9 to 48.4 percent] margin."

Even before eight women made the sensational charges of sexual misbehavior by Moore toward them when they were teenagers, the former chief justice of the state was considered a divisive political figure. He was removed as chief justice for violating his fellow jurists' vote not to put up a monument bearing the Ten Commandments, and then came back in 2012 to recapture his state's top judicial office -- and then was removed again for admonishing local and county officials to disobey the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage.

But none of this stopped Moore from capturing the Republican nomination to fill the seat formerly held by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Then came the charges by the women, his abandonment by Republican U.S. Senators and their campaign committee, and the calls from his party to resign the nomination.

"There was a lower turnout than usual in counties considered reliably Republican and a bigger turnout than usual in counties that support a Democrat," concluded veteran pollster and Franklin and Marshall College (Pa.) Prof. G. Terry Madonna.

With help from leading black politicians such as Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) and Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia), the black turnout in Tuesday's election was roughly 30 percent of the vote--higher than even the 28 percent of black voters who comprised the Alabama electorate voting in the 2012 race between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

In addition, Jones rolled up more than 70 percent of the vote in Jefferson County (which includes Birmingham) and handily carried Mobile. In contrast, as Marty Conners noted, "where Trump got 3,000 votes in Fairhope [an upscale suburban precinct in Baldwin County], Roy Moore got 300 votes." Overall, where pollsters had predicted a turnout of 25 percent of eligible voters for the special election, the turnout ended up being a stunning 50 percent of the vote.

In the final two weeks of the campaign, polls showed that the women's charges against Moore were clearly losing steam. A CNN poll found that among likely Alabama voters, 50 percent believed the charges to be true, but 44 percent felt they were false. However, several national Republicans -- ranging from 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney to former Secretary of State (and native Alabamian) Condoleezza Rice -- came out with strongly-worded denunciations of Moore. Moreover, highly incendiary statements made by Moore began to be recycled in the press. Among them were his view that "maybe Vladimir Putin and I have more in common than I thought" in their opposition to same-sex marriage and that Muslims should not serve in the armed forces.

As President Trump gave his blessing to Moore in twilight days of the campaign, many polls showed the embattled Republican edging Jones. But following Trump's endorsement, the state's senior Senator Richard Shelby announced he could not vote for Moore and would be writing in the name of another Republican.

"What Alabama voters told us more than anything else is that candidate quality matters," veteran national GOP consultant Ford O'Connell told us. "There is a limit on the amount of craziness they will accept. Had Luther Strange [the appointed senator beaten for nomination by Moore] or [Republican primary third-place finisher and Rep.] Mo Brooks been the nominee instead of Roy Moore, Republicans would have maintained the seat without breaking a sweat."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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As soon as Fox News projected Democrat Doug Jones the winner of Alabama's U.S. Senate race Tuesday night, pundits and Democratic pols began proclaiming his win over Republican Roy Moore as a negative referendum on the Trump Administration and Republicans in Congress.
doug jones, roy moore, alabama
Wednesday, 13 December 2017 12:45 AM
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