By Glynn Wilson –
MOBILE, Ala. — Doug Jones is not waiting on former judge Roy Moore to concede the U.S. Senate election in Alabama that captured the attention of the nation.
Four days before Christmas, after a wedding anniversary vacation in Key West with his wife Louise and a trip to New York to appear on the “Late Show with Seth Meyers” on NBC, Jones and his team have launched a new transition website where people can get in touch with the new Senator and even apply for jobs.
“Since our historic victory last week, we have immediately begun recruiting a team that will help me best serve the people of Alabama and our country,” Jones said in a press release sent out Friday morning. “This website will be our foundation to build an operation that helps me find common ground with my colleagues in both parties and work to end the gridlock in Congress.”
Even before the election has been certified by Alabama Secretary of State John H. Merrill, Jones is planning a swearing in ceremony in Washington, D.C. for Jan. 3.
“So many people in Alabama and around the nation have wanted to know when the results of the U. S. Senate election will be certified,” Merrill recently said in a statement. “That date has now been set and the certification will occur on Thursday, December 28 at 1 p.m. in the State Capitol.”
According to the Secretary of State’s official website, the election results are still considered unofficial as all of Alabama’s 67 counties complete the count of absentee ballots and write-in votes.
As it stands now, Jones received 671,151 votes to Moore’s 650,436, a margin of 49.92 percent to 48.38 percent. It is not close enough, .05 percent, to automatically trigger a recount.
But that has not stopped Moore from trying to demand one in his typical fiesty fashion. He launched a new fundraiser under the guise of an “Election Integrity Program” to supposedly “investigate supposed voter fraud.”
In racist, homophobic rants on Facebook, in which he slandered Jones’ son for being gay, Moore blamed “Muslims and Marxists” for delivering “thousands of black, Latino, and Muslim voters behind Doug Jones.”
“Do you know what baby killers, homosexuals, so-called social elites, the underclasses, old hipsters, felons, socialists college students, urban thugs and white trash have in common?” Moore asked his radical, religious loyal base. “They elected Doug Jones.”
Jones took the high road and did not comment on that, only calling it and the Moore campaign itself “surreal” on the “Late Show.” But if he had, he might have said Moore might look to his own house. Moore son Caleb Elisha Moore has been arrested nine times on charges of criminal trespassing, drug possession and driving under the influence of alcohol.
“I think the Alabama election … it wasn’t about me. It was never about me,” Jones said. “And to some extent, it wasn’t about Roy Moore. But what I think that message is that people want to see things done. They don’t like the dysfunction (in Washington).”
While nationally in the last month and a half of the campaign the media focused on sexual misconduct allegations against Moore, locally the Jones campaign remained focused on providing good jobs for people in the state, a quality education and affordable health care, especially for children. When the Republican leadership in Montgomery announced that it would be the first state to freeze funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Jones issued a statement saying this was unacceptable. The funding covers more than 150,000 children in the state and nine million nationally.
“Funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program has reached a crisis level and my future colleagues must stop playing political football with the health care of our children and act now to ensure Alabama’s most vulnerable do not begin losing coverage,” Jones said. “It is absolutely unacceptable for partisan fighting to delay renewing funding for CHIP. As I have said throughout my campaign and again on election night, it’s time for our leaders to do what’s right and extend funding for the nine million children who receive coverage from CHIP.”
While Jones has suffered something of a backlash among his base around Alabama in many Facebook groups for his comments in a CNN interview seeming to indicate that he was not for President Donald J. Trump resigning for the sexual misconduct allegations against him, and from some who fear he will hire a mostly white, male staff to work with him in Washington, Jones addressed both issues this week.
On the hiring front, Jones emphasized that he will be “an equal opportunity employer” and said “it is our policy to recruit, hire, train, promote and administer any and all personnel actions without regard to race, color, sex, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, disability, or any other protected category under local, state, or federal law.”
He told Seth Meyers that in his comments on CNN, he was simply trying to reach out to President Trump and Senate Republicans so he can work on the important issues he and the people of Alabama care about.
“You’ve got to try to reach out, but it’s one of those things. They’ve got to want to work with you as well,” he said of the Republicans in Washington. Jones admitted he campaigned on a pledge to work across party lines to get things done, and he hoped that would be the case after he is sworn in. But he joked that “will probably last a good 24 or 48 hours.”
© 2017, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.