After more than a month of accusations, allegations, refutations and machinations – it’s here: decision day in Alabama’s U.S. special Senate election between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones.
Recent polling is split as to who will win Tuesday’s contest. A recent Fox News poll put Jones up by 10 points while an Emerson poll taken during the same period had Moore up by a similar margin. The Fox News poll used a questionable Democrat/Republican mix (44%/46%) despite the 2016 Senate race showing a 64% t0 36% Republicans to Democrat turnout and the presidential race came in at 63% to 35% R/D. The Emerson poll used 2016 turnout statistics to weight its population. The Real Clear Politics average of polls gives Roy Moore just a 2.2% edge.
The race should have been a run-away for the Republican party as Alabama hasn’t elected a Democrat to the Senate in more than 25 years and the last time Jeff Session won the seat it was with 97% of the vote. But, allegations of sexual misconduct were suddenly leveled at Moore for actions his accusers say he took more than 40 years ago. Moore has denied the allegations and at least one accuser has admitted to tampering with the evidence that she says supports her claim.
Democrats are hoping Moore’s troubles will help them claw back a seat in the Senate. Former President Barack Obama weighed-into the race releasing a robocall in support of the left-wing extremist candidate.
“Doug Jones is a fighter for equality, for progress,” Obama says. “Doug will be our champion for justice. So get out and vote, Alabama.”
“This one’s serious,” Obama added. “You can’t sit it out.”
President Donald Trump, knowing that his party’s Senate majority is already razor thin, began to back Moore in the last days of the campaign. Trump never went to Alabama to directly campaign for him, but did host a Rally in Florida, just 20 miles from the Alabama-Florida state line. This last week, he also recorded a robocall for the Republican candidate.
“Roy Moore is the guy we need to pass our ‘Make America Great Again’ agenda,” Trump said on the call. “Roy is a conservative who will help me steer this country back on track after eight years of the Obama disaster. Get out and vote for Roy Moore,” Trump said.
Turnout will be key in this special election battle. If evangelicals show up in great numbers, Moore will take the race. But, if the black vote is motivated by Obama’s message, it could reduce the Republican majority in the Senate to a single seat.