Democrat Doug Jones Wins Primary, Calls for Calm in Charlottesville –
By Glynn Wilson –
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The religious right in conservative Alabama once again proved they will turn out to vote in greater numbers than any other group as long as the candidate does not believe in the separation of church and state.
Scrappy little Judge Roy Moore pulled out an upset victory in the Republican Primary of a special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat of (at least for now) Attorney General Jeff Sessions, appointed by President Donald Trump.
It was a clear defeat for the president as well as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who both endorsed Luther Strange, the former state attorney general who was appointed to fill Sessions’ seat by former Governor Robert Bentley, who has now been removed from office for corruption in using state resources to cover up an illicit affair.
According to the unofficial early results from the Alabama Secretary of State’s office, with all 67 counties reporting, Moore received about 39 percent of the Republican vote with 162,570 votes. Strange got about 33 percent of the vote with 136,910 votes, and now those two will face each other in a runoff September 26. Huntsville Congressman Mo Brooks, who attacked Strange and Moore in the primary and tried to appeal to tea party voters and the religious right, only got about 20 percent of the vote with 82,363 votes.
National political pundits and the mainstream media are reporting these results assuming the Republican winner will ultimately win the seat. But the winner of the Democratic Primary, former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones, believes there is a better chance than there has been in years to elect a Democrat to the Senate. Jones handily won the primary with 65 percent of the vote with 104,549 votes.
Jones was endorsed by former Vice President Joe Biden, and on the morning of his primary victory, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, led by Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen, put out an email blast to raise money for Jones.
“Alabama has a special election coming up to fill Jeff Sessions’ Senate seat and with today’s primary election results in, we have an official Democratic nominee: Doug Jones,” the committee said. “Doug is the son of a steelworker and as a former U.S. Attorney, he brought members of the KKK to justice for the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham.”
The committee is asking people to chip in at least $1 now to help kick off Doug’s campaign “with a strong show of support and ensure we have the resources to take on Republicans everywhere. That’s why we’re launching an organizing program in Alabama to lay the foundation for a strong Democratic Senate campaign that competes for every vote.”
Jones ended his primary campaign by issuing a statement on the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“As people of conscience, I believe we have an obligation to work against hate and call out when we see it. We have seen hate the past two days in Charlottesville,” Jones said. “Sadly, it has resulted in fatalities and injuries.”
He expressed disappointment that President Trump had not issued a strong condemnation of the white supremacists and neo-Nazis responsible for these events. Now that Trump has attempted to do that and bungled the job by condemning “both sides,” Trump is losing more support around the country, including the support of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumpka, who appeared on CBS “This Morning” to announce he would step down from Trump’s manufacturing council.
Jones, with an attorney from Birmingham with strong record on civil rights, called for calm, healing and prayer for those in Charlottesville “who have been the victims of this hate.”
“I come from a town that still carries the scars of violence rising from hate,” Jones said. “This is not who we are as Americans – and I applaud and join the vast majority of both Democrats and Republicans who reject and condemn these actions.”
If Moore goes on to win the runoff, the race will be a test to see if Democrats, fired up to protest after Trump’s election, can out organize the religious right. There are enough Democrats in Alabama to elect Jones, if they would show up to vote. In the special election, only about 18 percent of Alabama’s 3.2 million registered voters turned out. Total votes cast came to only 578,326.
© 2017, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.