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.

Confirmed Cases: 112123

Reported Deaths: 3223
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7796173
DeSoto670178
Harrison484483
Jackson435081
Rankin383786
Madison373993
Lee344979
Forrest296377
Jones283782
Washington252197
Lafayette242642
Lauderdale2376131
Lamar217138
Bolivar198377
Oktibbeha195854
Neshoba1814111
Lowndes174962
Panola166337
Leflore160787
Sunflower157649
Warren152755
Monroe145972
Pontotoc143819
Pike137256
Lincoln135555
Copiah135036
Marshall134826
Scott123829
Coahoma123436
Grenada120038
Yazoo119333
Simpson118649
Union115225
Holmes113560
Leake113340
Tate113239
Itawamba110424
Pearl River108958
Adams104343
Prentiss102619
Wayne98721
Alcorn96012
George93917
Marion92942
Covington92525
Tippah85921
Newton84427
Chickasaw82625
Winston82221
Tallahatchie81825
Tishomingo79341
Hancock78127
Attala77626
Clarke72349
Clay67621
Jasper67417
Walthall63327
Calhoun61412
Noxubee59617
Smith58316
Claiborne53216
Montgomery52923
Tunica52217
Lawrence49914
Yalobusha49314
Perry48122
Carroll46312
Greene45518
Stone45014
Amite41713
Quitman4146
Humphreys41216
Jefferson Davis39811
Webster36613
Wilkinson33020
Kemper32015
Benton3154
Sharkey27814
Jefferson27010
Franklin2373
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1063
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 153016

Reported Deaths: 2633
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22563372
Mobile14335314
Tuscaloosa10023133
Montgomery9759196
Madison904893
Shelby709960
Lee644966
Baldwin640569
Marshall428248
Calhoun412759
Etowah405749
Morgan396833
Houston364632
DeKalb319628
Elmore310752
St. Clair282142
Limestone270828
Walker268892
Talladega258435
Cullman227623
Lauderdale208740
Autauga201029
Jackson200915
Franklin199731
Colbert192228
Russell19053
Dallas185627
Blount184824
Chilton181731
Escambia171328
Coffee16669
Covington166029
Dale163451
Pike130512
Chambers130143
Tallapoosa128686
Clarke127117
Marion104729
Butler99840
Barbour9889
Marengo97221
Winston90413
Geneva8417
Pickens80517
Lawrence80031
Randolph79814
Bibb79114
Hale74529
Cherokee72214
Clay71912
Lowndes70127
Henry6376
Bullock63517
Monroe6319
Washington62212
Crenshaw59330
Perry5806
Wilcox55912
Conecuh55713
Fayette55312
Cleburne5287
Macon52820
Sumter46721
Lamar4565
Choctaw38712
Greene33916
Coosa1973
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