- President Donald Trump’s allies came out in force in support of the embattled Republican US Senate candidate Roy Moore on Monday night.
- Moore’s Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, likewise made a final push for voters before Tuesday’s special election in Alabama.
- The special election has gained international attention since multiple sexual-misconduct allegations surfaced last month against Moore.
- Polling averages showed the two candidates within 2 percentage points of each other on Monday.
Voters in Alabama on Tuesday are poised to decide a special election that has garnered international attention since accusations of sexual misconduct have allowed a Democrat to contend for a US Senate seat in a staunchly red state.
Allies of President Donald Trump turned out Monday night in support of Roy Moore, the Republican candidate who has been accused by several women of sexual misconduct. Recent polls have shown him to be pulling ahead of his Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, despite the allegations, but the election is so unusual that some pollsters have refused to predict a final outcome.
Moore, who is running on an antiestablishment platform, hosted a “Drain the Swamp” rally Monday night featuring remarks from Trump’s former White House chief strategist, Steve Bannon, and David Clarke, the former sheriff of Wisconsin’s Milwaukee County who was a prominent, yet controversial, fixture during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
The event was both a morale-building exercise for Moore’s staunchest supporters – Alabama voters miffed with the national news-media coverage of the Senate race – and a group castigation of Moore’s critics, both Republican and Democrat.
“There’s a special place in hell for Republicans who should know better,” Bannon told the crowd after calling out Republicans who had denounced Moore including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell; Alabama’s Republican senior senator, Richard Shelby; Condoleezza Rice; and “little Bobby Corker,” the senator from Tennessee.
Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas and Moore’s spokeswoman Janet Porter were also among the nearly two dozen people speaking in support of Moore on Monday night.
Moore’s wife, Kayla, rebuked national news coverage of the race and headlines that focused on sexual-misconduct allegations against her husband. She attacked reports about her husband’s past public statements in which he was critical of gay people and Muslims and implied that America was most recently great during the days of slavery.
“We have many friends who are black,” Kayla Moore said, adding, “And one of our attorneys is a Jew.”
The candidate, who is known for his fiery and often theocratic rhetoric, took a more sober tone during an interview with an Alabama conservative talk-radio show earlier Monday. He said of the negative coverage he had faced: “We’ve seen things happen in this campaign that I can’t believe to this day … It’s just been hard, a hard campaign.”
At the rally Monday night, he told voters, “If you don’t believe in my character, don’t vote for me.”
Charles Barkley comes out against Moore
At an election-eve rally for Jones, Moore’s Democratic opponent, the outspoken former NBA star Charles Barkley implored voters in his home state to reject Moore.
“I love Alabama, but at some point we’ve got to draw a line in the sand and say, ‘We’re not a bunch of damn idiots,'” Barkley said.
President Barack Obama recorded a robocall for Jones in which he said Jones would be the Democratic Party’s “champion for justice.”
Rice, a Republican Alabama native who served as national security adviser and secretary of state under President George W. Bush, gave a statement to AL.com that seemed to criticise Moore without saying his name by urging Alabama voters to “reject bigotry, sexism, and intolerance.”
The race in Alabama remained tight entering Tuesday. The latest RealClearPolitics average of several polls showed Moore leading Jones by just over 2 percentage points, and experts have been reluctant to try to predict the race.
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