Candidates in a special election to fill a vacancy in the U.S. Senate have a final chance Monday to convince voters that they are the best choice to represent the state of Alabama.
“We know who we are, Alabama,” Democratic candidate Doug Jones told supporters at a get out the vote rally late Sunday. “This is an election to tell the world who we are, and what we stand for.”
Republican candidate Roy Moore is getting help from President Donald Trump, who recorded a message being sent to Alabama residents through automated telephone calls.
Trump says if Jones wins, he will act as a “puppet” of Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, while Moore would allow the president to pass his agenda.
“His vote is our Republican Senate, and it’s needed,” Trump says.
Republicans hold a narrow majority in the 100-seat Senate. Tuesday’s election will decide who fills the remaining three years left on the term of Jeff Sessions, who resigned in order to take his post as secretary of state. If Jones wins, the Republican advantage would shrink to a 51-49 margin.
Alabama’s senior senator, Republican Richard Shelby, said Sunday the state “deserves better” than electing Moore, who is accused of sexual improprieties with teenage girls four decades ago when he was in his 30s.
Shelby told CNN he has already cast an absentee ballot, writing in the name of “a distinguished Republican” he declined to name.
“I’d rather see the Republican win, but I would hope that Republican would be a write-in,” Shelby said.
“I couldn’t vote for Roy Moore. I didn’t vote for Roy Moore. I’d rather see another Republican in there, and I’m going to stay with that story,” Shelby said. “I’m not going to vote for the Democrat, I didn’t vote for the Democrat or advocate for the Democrat. But I couldn’t vote for Roy Moore.”
Moore, accused of sexual misconduct by two women, one of whom was 14 during the time he was a local prosecutor, is locked in a tight contest with Jones, a former federal prosecutor.
Other women say that Moore pursued them for dates when they were teenagers, but Shelby said the “tipping point” for him were allegations made by the then-14-year-old, now in her 50s. “That was enough for me,” he said.
Trump in recent days has mounted a full-bore campaign for Moore, ignoring the allegations of sexual improprieties against him and the fact that he was twice deposed as an Alabama state Supreme Court judge for refusing to adhere to federal court rulings.
To no avail, numerous key Republican leaders in Washington called for Moore to end his candidacy and said they will try to expel him from the Senate if he wins Tuesday’s vote.
But Dean Young, Moore’s chief strategist, predicted Sunday, “Judge Moore’s going to go to Washington. Judge Moore’s going to win, and I highly doubt there’s going to be a Senate investigation.”