Subscribe to Here’s the Deal, our politics newsletter for analysis you won’t find anywhere else.
Thank you. Please check your inbox to confirm.
How the Alabama race could reflect future Senate fights
In the final days of the Alabama Senate race, Democratic candidate Doug Jones barnstormed the state with multiple events, while Republican opponent Roy Moore avoided the trail and the national media. The night before Alabama goes to the polls, Don Dailey of Alabama Public Television joins Judy Woodruff to discuss the surprise toss-up race, the allegations against Moore and what voters think.
Now to Alabama, where it is election eve for what has shaped up to be a surprise tossup race for a Senate seat.
We begin with this report from Alabama Public Television's Don Dailey.
President Donald Trump:
How many people here are from the great state of Alabama?
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
The president ended last week in Florida, but not far from his mind, Alabama.
The future of this country cannot afford to lose a seat in the very, very close United States Senate. We can't afford it, folks. So, get out and vote for Roy Moore.
In the final days of the campaign, Democratic candidate Doug Jones barnstormed the state with multiple events.
This is an election to tell the world who we are.
By contrast, his opponent, Roy Moore, avoided the campaign trail and the national media. He chose instead to talk to a local news show about accusations that have rocked the campaign.
I didn't know any of the women who have charged me with sexual — allegation of molestation.
In recent weeks, nine women have accused Moore of sexual misconduct. Most of them said they were in their teens when he pursued them romantically while he was in his 30s.
Beverly Young Nelson said Moore assaulted her at age 16.
Beverly Young Nelson:
I tried fighting him off while yelling at him to stop, but instead of stopping, he began squeezing my neck, attempting to force my head onto his crotch.
The charges have led some Alabamians to call for Moore to drop out.
We wouldn't want someone representing our district or our state that has done that to young girls. We have young girls who are watching and young men who are watching, and we don't want that to be the role model or the legacy that we give to them.
While Governor Kay Ivey is sticking by Moore, other prominent Alabama Republicans, like Senator Richard Shelby, have spoken out against him.
Sen. Richard Shelby:
I think so many accusations, so many cuts, so many drip, drip, drip, when it got to the 14-year-old story — story, that was enough for me. I said, I can't vote for Roy Moore.
But many in Moore's base are standing by him, some enthusiastically.
I truly believe the truth will come out and will show that Judge Moore is being falsely accused, just like Joseph in the Bible.
Others are supporting Moore reluctantly.
I do respect women, and I think it's awful whatever that is — if it did happen. But I think I'm going to have to vote for him.
Moore is no stranger to controversy. He has openly spoken against transgender and gay people.
No matter what you cut off or put on, you don't change your gender.
Blamed 9/11 on Americans being sinful, and used derogatory terms when referring to certain minority groups.
Now we got blacks and whites fighting, reds and yellows fighting.
Moore was twice forced out as Alabama's Supreme Court chief justice, first for refusing to remove his Ten Commandments monument from a government building and later for ordering other judges to defy the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling.
Roy Moore has never, ever served our state with honor. He has never, ever been a source of pride for the people of this state, only a source of embarrassment.
Moore's Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, also had a career in law enforcement. A former U.S. attorney, he successfully prosecuted members of the Ku Klux Klan responsible for killing four African-American girls during a Birmingham church bombing in 1963.
Jones has accused Moore of dodging what he says are issues at the core of the Senate race, health care, education, jobs and the economy.
He has never ever talked about the issues that this state faces. He wants to talk about the issues that divide us.
Moore doesn't shy away from his reputation as a rebel. He says senators in Washington need a shock to the system.
They're aware that I'm difficult to manage, which means I have got my own mind. I don't follow the people. And they don't want that.
Those sentiments are resonating with some Alabama voters, who say electing a conservative outweighs concerns about the allegations against Moore.
This is way bigger than Judge Roy Moore and sex allegations. We are on the precipice of a disaster. This election puts the Senate balance at critical mass. A Democrat must not be seated.
That concern has stretched all the way to Washington, where Senate Republicans only hold a two-seat majority.
And Roy Moore will be back out before the public this evening here in Alabama. He has a campaign rally planned in Midland City, which is a small community outside Dothan, Alabama, in the southeastern part of the state.
Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist, will be joining him at that rally. Doug Jones, meanwhile, is also holding an election eve rally in Birmingham, where he will be joined by basketball star Charles Barkley.
Don, thank you.
So, a little bit more about that. We know that Roy Moore has Steve Bannon, as you mentioned, campaigning with him tonight. The president has recorded robo-calls to go out in his behalf.
On the other hand, for Doug Jones, both former President Obama, former Vice President Biden have been recording robo-calls. They both are going after their base? Is that what is going on here?
Yes, it seems to me that these are targeted robo-calls going after their bases.
The robo-calls recorded by former President Obama and former Vice President Biden apparently going to those that the Doug Jones campaign obviously would feel would most react favorably to those.
Doug Jones in these final days has really been going after the African-American vote here in Alabama, seeing that as crucial to a victory tomorrow.
And, Don, you were also telling us that Doug Jones is reaching out to some Republican voters in the state.
His campaign believes that they need to pick up some more moderate Republicans to be successful tomorrow, Republicans who may be on the fence because of the allegations surrounding Roy Moore, or Republicans who had their doubts about Roy Moore before the allegations surfaced.
I have heard numbers that maybe they need to pick up maybe 15 percent of those uncertain Republicans.
Don, you reported, mentioned again that Senator Richard Shelby, who, of course, is the sitting senator now, elected Republican from Alabama, has said he's not going to vote for Roy Moore.
What kind of influence, what kind of comment is there about that around the state?
I think Alabamians, by and large, have taken what Senator Shelby has said to heart. Richard Shelby is a very trusted, beloved politician here in Alabama, our elder statesman in Washington, if you will.
And I think a lot of people put stock in what Richard Shelby has said. And he has said these things voluntarily, without a lot of prompting. He says he feels that Judge Moore isn't fit to serve in the Senate and, of course, he voted for another write-in candidate, who he didn't identify.
And finally, Don, any early thoughts about turnout? What are you hearing?
The secretary of state here in Alabama has told us he is projecting about 25 percent voter turnout in Alabama tomorrow.
That's up from the primary elections in this race. And he says that's primarily because absentee voting has been very strong in the lead-up to the race, but 25 percent obviously would be better than the 18 percent we saw in the Republican runoff for this race, but still very low, given all that's at stake with this particular race.
Don Dailey, watching that race for us in Alabama, thank you very much, with Alabama Public Television. Thanks.
Thank you, Judy.
Watch the Full Episode
Support Provided By:
Additional Support Provided By: