By Glynn Wilson –
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Former Vice President Joe Biden has endorsed former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones of Birmingham in his bid to replace Jeff Sessions in the United States Senate.
Former Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange now occupies the seat held by Sessions for 20 years. Strange was appointed by disgraced former Governor Robert Bentley to replace Sessions when he was appointed Attorney General by President Donald Trump. When Bentley was forced to plead guilty to two misdemeanors and vacate the governor’s office and mansion in Montgomery, Lt. Governor Kay Ivy was sworn in as governor and quickly moved to call a special election.
It is widely known in the state that Strange delayed the investigation of Bentley and many critics see his appointment as corrupt.
On the day Trump fired James Comey as FBI director in May, Jones declared his intent to run for the seat.
In endorsing Jones, Biden recorded a robocall urging voters to cast their ballot for him in the primary, set for Tuesday, August 15. The text of that endorsement was published on Jones’ campaign Facebook page.
“Doug has spent his entire life fighting for justice,” Biden said. “He was the man after the 1963 church bombings that would not let it rest until he found the killers of those four young girls – and he eventually found justice – prosecuting and jailing those Klansmen nearly 40 years later. He’ll take that same energy and drive and fight for you and your families in the Senate – for a higher minimum wage, for fair, affordable healthcare, for good schools for all our kids. Doug Jones will make a great U.S. Senator so please make sure you get out and vote on Tuesday – and I’m hoping you’ll vote for my friend, Doug Jones.”
Republican President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have already endorsed Strange, who is in a tight Republican primary battle with Judge Roy Moore, twice removed from the state Supreme Court, and Congressman Mo Brooks of Huntsville.
Congressman John Lewis of Georgia has already endorsed Jones, as has Birmingham Democrat Terri Sewell.
“We are honored and humbled to receive the official endorsement of former Vice President Joe Biden,” Jones said in a statement.
The two first met in 1978 while Jones was attending Cumberland School of Law serving as president of the Young Democrats and Biden, a new Senator from Delaware, visited the campus. Jones says they have remained colleagues and friends ever since.
Polling is hard to come by in the race, but according to what little there is, an unknown African American Democrat from Mobile with a famous name seems to be leading the Democratic primary. According to Fox 10 News/Strategy Research, an outfit called GLEAN, and Raycom News, Robert Kennedy Jr. (no relation to the Kennedy from Massachusetts) is leading the primary with 40 to 50 percent of the vote. Jones is second with 16 to 30 percent.
In a head-to-head battle with Roy Moore, Google Consumer Surveys has Moore leading Jones 56 percent to 44 percent in the general election. There appears to be no data available on how Luther Strange and Mo Brooks are fairing in the primary against Moore, but the top two could end up in a runoff September 26. The general election will be held Tuesday, December 12.
If Jones were to pull an upset in the race, he would cut the Republicans’ majority in the Senate from 52-48 to a razor thin edge of just 51-49. It could upset the balance of power in Washington.
After the vote next Tuesday, if Jones comes out on top, Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen has pledged to provide significant financial help in the race. He is the chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. On the other side of the aisle, arch conservative Mitch McConnell, the senator from Kentucky, has pledged to raise $10 million to reelect Luther Strange.
© 2017, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.