Tags: Roy Moore | Alabama | Senate | Doug Jones

Democrats Crave a Race Against Roy Moore in Alabama Senate

Image: Democrats Crave a Race Against Roy Moore in Alabama Senate
Roy Moore brandishes an article about Mitch McConnell. (AP)

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Thursday, 17 August 2017 09:16 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Democrats are hungrily eyeing the upcoming Alabama special election slated for Dec. 7. For the first time since 1992, they feel they have a strong shot at the Senate — if Republicans field controversial former judge Roy Moore as their candidate.

As the likelihood grows that controversial former Chief Judge Roy Moore will win the run-off for Sessions’ seat on Sept. 26, state and national Democrats are beginning to think that their nominee Doug Jones might become very competitive in the special election.

The last elected Democratic U.S. senator was in 1992 when freshman Sen. Richard Shelby won his second term. Two years later, Shelby became a Republican and has since been re-elected four times with little difficulty.

The last serious bid Alabama Democrats made for a Senate seat was in 1996. That’s when Republican Jeff Sessions won his first term 52-to-45 percent over state Bill Clinton Democrat Sen. Roger Bedford. He won his next three terms over perfunctory opposition.

But this may change dramatically in 2018.

Moore topped a nine-candidate field with 40 percent of the vote and is already picking up endorsements for the runoff against appointed Sen. Luther Strange who had 30 percent.

“The Republican infighting will continue to drain resources, expose candidates’ flaws, and cast a bright spotlight on the broken promises that have come to define the Republican brand after eight months in total control of Washington,” David Bergstein, spokesman for the National Democratic Senatorial Committee, predicted to Newsmax. “Alabama voters have nominated Doug Jones — a clear contrast to the Republican agenda that puts the interests of the rich and well-connected over working families.”

Along with the scars sure to be left from Moore’s heated contest with Strange, the former jurist’s long record of public turbulence is likely to help Democratic candidate Jones.

Removed as chief justice by his colleagues in 2003 for refusing to remove a monument bearing the Ten Commandments from the Hall of Justice, Moore roared back in 2012 to win Alabama’s top judicial office.

Although Moore handily beat two opponents in the 2012 Republican primary for chief justice, he was held to a surprisingly low 52 percent of the vote in the fall race against Democrat David Vance. (Moore’s colleagues again removed him as chief justice last year, this time for encouraging local officials to defy the Supreme Court’s ruling permitting same-sex marriage.)

“There was an animosity toward Judge Moore that came out in the 2012 election for chief justice,” former Rep. Glen Browder, D-Ala., retired political science professor at Jacksonville State University, told me. “And that could help Doug Jones if he faces [Moore].”

A former U.S. attorney and centrist Democrat, Jones rolled up 63 percent of the vote against seven opponents to win the Senate primary Tuesday. He benefited from campaign appearances on his behalf from Democratic Reps. Tim Ryan and John Lewis and had the endorsement of former Vice President Joe Biden.

As federal prosecutor, Jones gained widespread fame for successfully prosecuting two of the remaining perpetrators in the 1963 bombing of the predominantly black 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.

But it is primarily the fact that Jones would be facing Roy Moore leads Alabama Democrats to say this race might be winnable.

“Most folks think he’d do far better against Moore than Sen. Strange,” said Browder. “I’m sure Doug is hoping in his heart that Moore wins the runoff.”

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

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Democrats are hungrily eyeing the upcoming Alabama special election slated for Dec. 7. For the first time since 1992, they feel they have a strong shot at the Senate — if Republicans field controversial former judge Roy Moore as their candidate.
Roy Moore, Alabama, Senate, Doug Jones
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2017-16-17
Thursday, 17 August 2017 09:16 AM
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