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: 512632

Reported Deaths: 10262
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34853555
DeSoto33162432
Hinds32556641
Jackson24830389
Rankin22442402
Lee16238242
Madison14874283
Jones14086247
Forrest13741259
Lauderdale12249324
Lowndes11286193
Lamar10644140
Pearl River9707244
Lafayette8827143
Hancock7835132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7204138
Monroe6989179
Pontotoc6970109
Warren6849178
Panola6746134
Neshoba6726210
Marshall6653141
Bolivar6440151
Union633897
Pike5924156
Alcorn5862107
Lincoln5525136
George510180
Prentiss500884
Tippah490282
Itawamba4829107
Scott477499
Adams4766125
Tate4748116
Leflore4723144
Copiah455895
Yazoo455591
Simpson4543117
Wayne442772
Covington432895
Sunflower4299106
Marion4265112
Coahoma4227109
Leake413790
Newton395581
Tishomingo381793
Grenada3775109
Stone365666
Jasper340166
Attala337790
Winston317792
Chickasaw313367
Clay311878
Clarke301195
Calhoun284449
Holmes271289
Smith268952
Yalobusha243747
Tallahatchie231453
Greene224749
Walthall221366
Lawrence217840
Perry213356
Amite209557
Webster205148
Noxubee188642
Montgomery181557
Carroll174441
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152639
Kemper144941
Choctaw136527
Claiborne134238
Humphreys131139
Franklin124929
Quitman107528
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96834
Sharkey65121
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 845108

Reported Deaths: 16115
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161242006
Mobile741961379
Madison53291732
Shelby38328368
Baldwin38074589
Tuscaloosa36017641
Montgomery34483781
Lee25557263
Calhoun22585518
Morgan22454406
Etowah20016517
Marshall18781316
Houston17729425
St. Clair16880358
Limestone16138218
Cullman16050303
Elmore15904294
Lauderdale14984306
Talladega14191299
DeKalb12971269
Walker12029380
Blount10715192
Autauga10517157
Jackson10161194
Coffee9415192
Colbert9341208
Dale9018191
Tallapoosa7255201
Russell707865
Chilton7018170
Escambia6955143
Covington6933195
Franklin6342108
Chambers5784142
Marion5403130
Dallas5285209
Pike5118109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4780110
Geneva4642136
Bibb434094
Barbour369480
Butler3434100
Marengo342393
Monroe337066
Randolph334367
Pickens333188
Fayette330085
Henry320666
Hale318389
Cherokee317763
Crenshaw260477
Washington257052
Cleburne254460
Lamar251453
Clay250869
Macon244764
Conecuh192862
Coosa185047
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152645
Perry141840
Sumter139241
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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