Klan Prosecutor Joins Alabama Senate Race

Former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones is first significant Democratic candidate to run for Strange’s seat

Doug Jones speaks to reporters in 2005 after Eric Rudolph pled guilty to setting off a bomb at a Birmingham, Alabama women’s clinic while Jones was U.S. attorney. (Brian Schoenhals/Getty Images file photo)

Former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones on Wednesday became the first prominent Democrat to enter the race for Jeff Sessions’ former Senate seat in Alabama.

Jones is best known for prosecuting Ku Klux Klan members who bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963, killing four young girls and injuring 22 others. 

In a statement to The Associated Press, Jones said he intends to focus on the concerns of everyday people like “jobs and wages, adequate and affordable health care and first rate educations for our children and grandchildren.”

Sen. Luther Strange was appointed to the seat by former Gov. Robert Bentley after Sessions left to become U.S. attorney general. He faces Republican primary challenges from former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who was suspended from his position for ethics violations, and resigned last week to run for the Senate seat; State Rep. Ed Henry; Christian Coalition of Alabama President Randy Brinson; and most recently, businessman Dom Gentile.

Alabama Republican Rep. Mo Brooks said he is seriously considering getting into the race and will decide by Monday, two days before the May 17 filing deadline.

Medical marijuana activist Ron Crumpton, and Robert Kennedy Jr. of Mobile are also running as Democrats. State party officials said they weren’t familiar with Kennedy and didn't know if he was connected to that Kennedy family.

Bentley appointed Strange, then the state’s attorney general, to fill out Sessions’ term, and scheduled an election for the seat in 2018. But Bentley successor, Gov. Kay Ivey, moved the election up to August.

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