Alabama Senate race gives GOP voters an uncomfortable choice

With two weeks to go until the Alabama election for U.S. Senate, Kathie Luckie of Hoover said she is "teetering" with her choice.

Posted: Nov 28, 2017 8:20 AM

HOMEWOOD, Ala. (AP) — With two weeks to go until the Alabama election for U.S. Senate, Kathie Luckie of Hoover said she is "teetering" with her choice.

A Republican, she usually supports the GOP candidate. But she said Roy Moore has always been "a little radical" for her taste, even before he was hit with recent allegations of sexual misconduct.

"It's a struggle. I'm just kind of bouncing around with my decisions. Right now, I'm caught between don't vote or vote Republican," said Luckie, a retired UPS supervisor from Hoover. Even though she's not a Moore fan, she said, "I do believe it's important for a Republican to get into the office."

Voters like Luckie — reliable Republicans in the middle — will determine whether Moore or Democrat Doug Jones wins on Dec. 12. While Moore needs evangelicals to show up at the polls and Jones will rely heavily on black Democrats, a large swath of Alabama Republicans — typically Christian and conservative — holds the key to victory for both.

Moore is counting on them to send another Republican to Washington while Democrats hope Jones peels off some Republicans and others, turned off by Moore, stay home. Meanwhile, retired Marine Col. Lee Busby has launched a write-in campaign for the seat. He told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" in an interview Tuesday morning that winning is "doable" and that he offers a choice for voters who want neither Jones nor Moore.

Jones' signs are a common sight in Homewood, a leafy suburb near downtown Birmingham where incumbent Republican Sen. Luther Strange lives.

Harold Cook, 67, typically votes Republican but said he might vote for a write-in this time.

"I'm not sure we need to go back to people who defy the law. The state has been through this before with the governor in the 1960s," Cook said. "I'm tired of seeing Roy Moore on the news."

Moore was a polarizing figure in Alabama — winning his last statewide election with 51 percent — before the allegations of sexual misconduct. He was removed as state chief justice in 2003 when he disobeyed a court order to move a boulder-sized Ten Commandments monument out of the state Supreme Court building. After winning election to the post again, he was permanently suspended last year for urging state probate judges to refuse marriage licenses to gay couples, in defiance of the federal courts.

Two women have accused Moore of sexually assaulting or molesting them decades ago, when he was a deputy district attorney in his 30s and they were teenagers. At least five others have said he pursued romantic relationships when they were between ages 16 and 18. Moore has denied the allegations of sexual misconduct and said he never dated "underage" women, although he has not defined what he meant by "underage."

It's been a quarter of a century since a Democrat was elected to the U.S. Senate from Alabama, where many white voters almost reflexively vote for the Republican in statewide races.

Zac McCrary, an Alabama-based Democratic pollster, said Jones must focus on issues that cross party lines and will "never have good math" if he presents it as a "D'' versus "R'' battle.

"He's fighting real muscle memory among much of the white electorate," McCrary said.

Jones has launched an advertisement with Republicans explaining their decision to support him. His wife, Louise, has been doing coffee talks with suburban women. In speeches, Jones hammers on "kitchen table issues" and breaking away from divisive politics.

"Alabama has an opportunity to either go backwards with a divisive figure, the kind of figure that I think Alabamians are tired of. Or they can send someone who has reached across the aisle, who's worked with both sides, who is trying to be someone who will find common ground with people," Jones said Sunday at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.

Support for Moore is stronger in rural areas. Crossing an intersection down the street from a Sav-A-Life anti-abortion center in Troy, 77-year-old Bert Fridlin said he never votes Democrat. He won't this time either, he said, citing Jones' support of abortion rights.

President Donald Trump on Sunday tried to frame it as a partisan battle. Disregarding concerns from Senate Republican leaders who have disavowed Moore, Trump tweeted out criticisms of Jones and said it would be a "disaster" for a Democrat to win the Alabama race.

David Mowery, an Alabama-based political consultant, said Trump's words might sway Republicans who were considering sitting out the race.

"But now they've got the president saying, 'Hey, I need Roy Moore to help us on things like tax reform.' I think it does affect certain voters," Mowery said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 308737

Reported Deaths: 7139
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20931250
Hinds19961410
Harrison17562303
Rankin13369277
Jackson13156243
Madison9950212
Lee9890170
Jones8310161
Forrest7542148
Lauderdale7221237
Lowndes6289144
Lamar613384
Lafayette6072117
Washington5291133
Bolivar4776129
Oktibbeha457197
Panola4458103
Pearl River4437141
Warren4299119
Marshall4286102
Pontotoc417572
Monroe4062132
Union404675
Neshoba4005176
Lincoln3886109
Hancock373385
Leflore3471124
Sunflower331589
Tate325384
Pike3215105
Scott311472
Yazoo305069
Alcorn299465
Itawamba297877
Copiah293965
Coahoma290479
Simpson289586
Tippah285168
Prentiss276659
Marion266279
Leake261773
Wayne261541
Grenada256484
Covington255280
Adams246982
Newton245761
George238547
Winston226081
Tishomingo222567
Jasper220048
Attala213673
Chickasaw205457
Holmes187172
Clay183254
Stone179733
Clarke177776
Tallahatchie176140
Calhoun165431
Yalobusha160136
Smith159334
Walthall131043
Greene129633
Lawrence126623
Noxubee126534
Montgomery125742
Perry125238
Carroll120926
Amite120741
Webster113832
Jefferson Davis105532
Tunica103225
Claiborne101330
Benton97525
Kemper95628
Humphreys94632
Franklin82923
Quitman78916
Choctaw73917
Wilkinson65128
Jefferson64828
Sharkey49817
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 521623

Reported Deaths: 10739
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson754061493
Mobile39067799
Madison34040496
Tuscaloosa25367444
Montgomery24019567
Shelby23186239
Baldwin20701302
Lee15589165
Calhoun14342311
Morgan14158271
Etowah13685346
Marshall11995220
Houston10404278
Elmore10011200
Limestone9852147
Cullman9503189
St. Clair9463234
Lauderdale9265228
DeKalb8757181
Talladega8115171
Walker7139275
Jackson6756110
Autauga6750103
Blount6519134
Colbert6229130
Coffee5424113
Dale4772111
Russell430038
Franklin420782
Chilton4101109
Covington4061114
Tallapoosa3907146
Escambia390174
Dallas3525149
Chambers3514122
Clarke347060
Marion3072100
Pike306176
Lawrence295995
Winston273172
Bibb256059
Marengo248361
Geneva246075
Pickens233259
Barbour226455
Hale218575
Butler212967
Fayette209460
Henry188044
Cherokee182644
Randolph177241
Monroe172540
Washington165238
Macon155648
Clay150155
Crenshaw149457
Cleburne146741
Lamar139734
Lowndes136553
Wilcox124427
Bullock121640
Conecuh109428
Perry107626
Sumter103232
Coosa99428
Greene91434
Choctaw58824
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Columbus
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Oxford
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