MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Doug Jones has largely distanced himself from national Democrats in his campaign for Senate in deep-red Alabama. But three days out from Election Day, he’s brought in some national figures to boost turnout from a key voting bloc — African-American voters.
“I’m here to try and help some folk get woke!” New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker, told a crowd of roughly 200 at a rally in Montgomery at Alabama State University.
“Democracy is not a spectator sport,” Booker, who is often referred to as a potential future presidential candidate, reminded the crowd.
Aside from Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who campaigned for Jones in October, the Jones campaign has not called in national Democratic figures to help his campaign after the former U.S. Attorney won the primary.
That could help Jones avoid alienating members of a coalition that he needs to win — which includes Republicans who do not support the GOP nominee, former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore.
But Jones also needs to turn out African-American voters, who make up nearly a quarter of registered voters in Alabama and typically support Democrats.
Jones — who prosecuted two Ku Klux Klan members who bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963, killing four young girls — has visited African-American churches throughout his campaign. And he has reached out to black voters through targeted mailers and ads.
He was once again at a black church on Saturday, even though snow and ice closed highways early Saturday morning.
Jones addressed the congregation at Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church in Selma Saturday afternoon, along with Democratic Rep. Terri Sewell, a Selma native, and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.
This church has a special place in civil rights history. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke often here. And it’s where marchers began their trek to Montgomery in 1965, only to be met with violence six blocks away at the Edmund Pettis Bridge.
Georgia Democratic Rep. John Lewis, who led that march and was beaten by state troopers at the bridge, is expected to join Jones on the campaign trail Sunday.
But Jones said his push was not just aimed at the key voting bloc.
“This is not just a question about African-American voters. This election is about everybody in the state,” Jones said. “So while we are reaching out to the African-American community in Selma, and elsewhere, we’re reaching out with the same messages to everyone else.”
Jones also dismissed a question about whether bringing Democratic leaders from out of state could turn off other voters.
“The people that are going to be coming here today have issues that we have in common with the people of Alabama,” Jones said. “I don’t think you can say that with some of the people that are coming in on the other side.
Jones’ comment appeared to be a veiled reference to the Moore campaign. Moore will host former White House adviser Steve Bannon and Texas GOP Rep. Louie Gohmert at a Monday “Drain the Swamp” rally on the even of the election.
Jones pointed to Patrick’s work on civil rights as a reason he was with the campaign Saturday. And he highlighted Booker’s familial roots in Alabama when introducing the New Jersey Democrat.
“I’m looking at my family tree before I came down to Alabama, and we might be related,” Booker joked with Jones.
Booker did reference Moore when he addressed the crowd. He criticizing Moore, who was twice removed from the state Supreme Court for violating federal orders. Booker and Jones also pointed out Republicans have been critical of Moore, and said Jones is best positioned to work with both parties.
They did not spend much time on the allegations of sexual misconduct against Moore. Nine women have come forward alleging misconduct, including sexual assault, mainly when they were teenagers and Moore was in his thirties.
Jones declined to weigh in about a development Friday where one of Moore’s accusers said she had written notes around a yearbook she signed. The Moore campaign said that admission meant the accuser was not telling the truth.
“Look I’m not dealing with those accusations. That’s his issue, not mine,” Jones said. “So I’ll let them deal with that. What I’m talking about with these folks in here, that never came up. We talked about jobs. We talked about education. We talked about the economy”.
“We’re going to continue to do that right up until the polls close on December the 12th,” Jones said.
Juanda Maxwell, 69 of Selma, is a member of Brown Chapel and was inside when Jones, Patrick and Sewell addressed the congregation. The event was was closed to the press. She estimated 100 people attended.
Maxwell said their central message was to talk about reasons to vote.
“Be positive and give your people something to vote for and not against,” Maxwell said, as water from melting snow dripped from the tree above. “Because if you don’t give them to vote for they may not get out of this weather. We’re not used to this cold.”
Democrats will not support another clean continuing resolution that would allow Republicans to continue shirking their governing responsibilities, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said Tuesday.
Hoyer named several “must pass” bills Republicans have yet to get through Congress, including reauthorizations of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the National Flood Insurance program, as well as the next disaster supplemental and legislation providing a path to legal status for young undocumented immigrants impacted by the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
“There’s no more time to get these things done,” Hoyer said. Republicans “are not going to bludgeon us into ignoring issues just because they ignore issues,” the Maryland Democrat said. “And they think they have the votes. We’ll see.”
The two-week CR Congress passed last week expires Dec. 22. While 14 House Democrats voted for that CR, Hoyer said they would not have helped Republicans pass it if the GOP didn’t have the votes.
Senate Democrats helped get that CR through their chamber, but Hoyer said Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer has said they won’t support another stopgap measure.
House Republicans have been talking about a combination measure that would fully fund defense appropriations through the end of the fiscal year but use a CR to keep the remaining agencies funded into January.
Hoyer said that wouldn’t get Democratic support and couldn’t pass the Senate.
“That’s jamming what they want through,” he said.
Nonetheless, Speaker Paul D. Ryan indicated Tuesday that’s what House Republicans will pass.
“We’re going to put together a bill that reflects our priorities and send that over to the Senate after tax reform,” the Wisconsin Republican said.
If the Senate does not act on that measure, as is expected, a clean CR into January is likely among backup plans Republicans are considering, making Democrats’ opposition to such a move problematic.
President Donald Trump said he wants Congress to send him a clean funding measure that includes a full-year Pentagon appropriations bill — though he did not specify how long the nondefense portion should extend.
Democrats’ push to pass a DACA fix before the Christmas break continues to impede. Ryan reiterated Tuesday that’s not on the table as part of a year-end deal but Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi continue to call for it.
“We are in the process of negotiating with Republicans to provide a significant investment in border security in exchange for DACA,” Schumer said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “These talks continue to progress, and I’m hopeful we can reach an agreement on that issue as well.”
John T. Bennett and Jennifer Shutt contributed to this report.
While many sitting Republican senators — including Alabama’s own Richard C. Shelby — have continued to criticize Roy Moore, a few candidates who’d like to join them in the Senate have taken a more measured tone leading up to Tuesday’s election.
In several cases, that warmer embrace (or less forceful rejection) of the Alabama GOP Senate nominee is a change in tone from their previous public statements.
The evolution comes as the president and the Republican National Committee have stepped back into the race for Moore, while other GOP leaders who first called on Moore to drop out have since come to terms with the fact that Moore is going to be on the ballot Tuesday and the Senate will have to seat him if he wins.
Watch: In Alabama Race, Jones Has Funding, Moore Has Trump, Bannon Support
In an interview Sunday, Indiana GOP Rep. Todd Rokita was asked a two-part question about Moore: “Do you want to see Roy Moore win on Tuesday? If you both win, would you be comfortable serving with him in the Senate?”
The Senate candidate didn’t repeat his earlier suggestion that Moore should drop out.
“I’d be comfortable with whoever the voters of Alabama send to the Senate, and that’s whose decision this is,” Rokita told local CBS affiliate WTTV’s “IN Focus” on Sunday.
“And I’d be comfortable with Roy Moore,” he added, before praising his anti-abortion credentials.
In mid-November, shortly after The Washington Post published allegations of sexual misconduct against Moore, Rokita spoke more forcefully against his candidacy.
“[The voters] deserve a clear choice. And because it’s so clouded and muddy now, I’m wondering whether they will have that clear choice. So to the extent that they’re not, yeah …” he told “IN Focus” host Dan Spehler when asked if Moore should step aside.
His fellow Hoosier Rep. Luke Messer is also running for the GOP Senate nomination. Asked Monday about Messer’s position on Moore, campaign manager Chasen Bullock said it was “the same as before.”
“Luke has also said it’s up for the people of Alabama to decide,” Bullock said in an email.
On Nov. 16, Messer called on Moore to “step down.”
Former state Rep. Mike Braun, who’s also running for the Republican Senate nod in Indiana, called for Moore to drop out last month. His campaign said Monday the candidate still stands by that position.
In one of his earliest statements about Moore, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley put the burden of proof on Moore.
“Unless he can give rock-solid evidence that these claims are false, he should get out of the race,” the GOP Senate candidate said Nov. 13.
Asked on Monday whether he’d vote for Moore if had the chance, Hawley did not directly answer. But he repeated his calls for Moore to provide evidence of his innocence.
“These allegations are very serious allegations,” Hawley reiterated, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
“At least some of them are allegations of criminal wrongdoing,” he continued. “And that I don’t know what the truth is, but Judge Moore does. And I think that if these allegations are true, he should not be running. And he should step aside. And I also think that he should come forward, at this point, with evidence to exonerate himself, which he has not done.”
Hawley said if he were elected to the Senate, he’d want to examine any evidence from the Ethics Committee before voting to expel Moore.
Other Republican Senate candidates haven’t put the burden of proof on Moore, but they have maintained the “if true” qualifiers in denying him their support.
“These allegations are extremely disturbing and if true, I cannot support his candidacy for the United States Senate, but it’s up to the people of Alabama to ultimately decide,” Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn has said. Her campaign said Monday she stood by that statement.
Even Senate Republicans who have called for Moore to step aside and those like Maine’s Susan Collins — who said she wouldn’t have supported Moore even before the sexual misconduct allegations — have hesitated at the idea of expelling him from the Senate and defying the will of Alabama voters if he wins.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell drew attention earlier this month for a shift in tone when, after first calling for Moore to drop out, he said he’d “let the people of Alabama make the call.”
The Kentucky Republican later said his remarks didn’t signify any “change in heart” on Moore. He’s said the former judge should be prepared to face an Ethics Committee investigation if he wins.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee, which cut ties with the Moore campaign in November, has not stepped back into the race. Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, the committee chairman, has called for Moore to be expelled if he makes it to the Senate.
That’s put the NRSC at odds with candidates such as Montana’s Matt Rosendale, who has praised Moore’s public service and said he’ll support Moore “until he’s found guilty of a crime.”
The Republican candidate for Alabama’s Senate seat, Roy Moore, raised three times more in big-dollar donations from donors outside his state than from those within Alabama, according to newly released Federal Election Commission data that covers Oct. 1 through Nov. 22
Moore, the former chief judge of the Alabama Supreme Court, raised nearly $680,000 in itemized donations from outside of Alabama during that time, and only $172,000 from donations within the state.
He also raised $861,400 in non-itemized contributions.
The FEC requires candidates itemize contributions only for donors who have contributed more than $200.
This is the first FEC report to be released that shows the campaign’s fundraising since The Washington Post reported in early November that Moore had allegedly pursued underage girls when he was in his 30s. Moore has denied the allegations. The special election race to fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions comes to a close on Tuesday, as voters head to the polls to cast ballots for Moore or his opponent, Democrat Doug Jones.
The top states for Moore’s fundraising operation, outside of Alabama, were Texas, California, Florida and Virginia. Together they combined for about $272,000 in itemized donations.
Moore received only three itemized contributions from inside Washington, D.C., which totaled $1,250.
Itemized contributions for Jones were not available electronically Monday morning because of the large size of Jones’ filing, though he is also expected to have a sizable amount of out-of-state donations. The Senate requires all candidates to submit paper filings, which are then converted to machine-readable data by the FEC.
Jones so far has far outraised Moore. He brought in more than five times as much as Moore in this filing, according to the pre-special election fundraising report. But Moore’s campaign and others have noted Moore is typically outspent in elections, and that his passionate base of supporters will still turn out to the polls.
In recent days Moore’s campaign has sent several fundraising blasts in an attempt to raise $300,000 for a final push to get out the vote.
Watch: In Alabama Race, Jones Has Funding, Moore Has Trump, Bannon Support
“If you’re sick and tired of [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell and the entire D.C. establishment who hate our conservative Christian values .... I hope and pray you’ll step up and chip in a donation to help close the gap before midnight tonight,” Moore said in a fundraising email sent Sunday night.
Democrats have also stepped up their fundraising for Jones, with the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and other groups sending out fundraising emails touting a close race.
“In a race this close, the outcome will depend on what we do in the next day,” read one DSCC fundraising email sent Monday morning. “Doug is counting on you.”
Bridget Bowman contributed to this report.