By Harrison Lavelle | AL
In one of the most interesting and unexpectedly close races of the year, the AL Senate Special Election to replace Jeff Sessions will certainly be one campaign to remember. It all started early this year when Jeff Sessions (Alabama’s Class 2 Senator) resigned from office to become the next attorney general of the United States. Kay Ivey, the governor, originally announced the special election for Nov 6, 2018 (coinciding with the midterms), but it was soon changed to Dec 12, 2017. She appointed Luther Strange as the interim senator, he ran in the Republican Primary for the seat, and in a historic upset, he lost to Roy Moore (The Former, Twice Removed, Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court). In what had appeared to be not only Strange v. Moore, but Trump v. Bannon, Moore and the anti-establishment league of the GOP in AL (and across the US) had pulled through.
Although the Democrats had a string of candidates declare, their primary did not go to a Run-off like the Republican’s did. Democrats nominated Doug Jones, a long-time Alabama attorney. In a state like AL, which went from being Conservative Democrat (1860-1990) to Solid Republican (1995-) on a Senate Level, like much of the south, after they flipped on a presidential level. With those odds, it looked like Jones would lose by similar margins to the 2016 AL Senate Race between Shelby and Crumpton. However, it all got started when the first accusations hit Roy Moore. Mid-way through the campaign, multiple women began to come out against Roy Moore, saying he dated, and in some cases molested them, when they were underage. Moore denied allegations, but used one of the most incriminating quotes you could use,
“I never dated any woman without her mother’s permission.”
It seemed like an endless cycle of assault allegations on Moore, but just when he thought it couldn’t get worse, it did. A woman came out saying Moore had signed her yearbook in high school (when Moore was in his 30’s) and wrote lewd notes in it (although the notes were forged by the accuser, but not the signature). Doug Jones made the race close and began to take the lead narrowly in some polls, Larry Sabato predicted the seat would lean democratic for the first time since the 1990s.
Trump swooped in to try to save Roy Moore, by attacking Doug Jones’ “liberal” record in a Conservative State. Although Jones claimed to be a conservative Democrat, Trump called him a “raging liberal” saying his was radical on abortion and the economy and implying that he was a tax and spend liberal who was unfit for the seat.
Jones began to fall in polls when Moore gained strength, and some allegations were falsified. Moore will win, the Democrats blew it. It will be closer than usual, but it really prompts us to call the GOP in 2014, 2016 and this election to the Senate to be the “comeback kid.” The Election is tomorrow, both candidates have a chance, however small it may be.