#GOP4Jones links Republicans breaking ranks over Roy Moore
Kristen Goode was in grade school the first time she heard of Roy Moore.
He was newly-elected Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, and riding a wave of publicity for refusing to remove a washing machine-sized Ten Commandments monument he’d installed in the lobby of the Alabama Supreme Court building.
"I remember even as a child thinking it was childish of him to stand out there and refuse to let them take it down," said Goode, who now lives in Madison and works in communications.
Goode describes herself as socially and fiscally conservative, favoring limited government.
But when it comes to Roy Moore in the upcoming special election for Senate, she can’t bring herself to vote Republican: "Roy Moore has always been an embarrassment, for himself and for the state of Alabama," she said.
Though she may be in the minority among Republicans in ruby-red Alabama, she isn’t alone.
A small "Republicans for Doug Jones" movement is gaining ground around the state as some voters urge their fellow conservatives to cross over to the Democratic side in order to keep Moore out of the Senate.
There is a Republicans for Doug Jones Facebook page, which has no official affiliation with the Doug Jones for Senate campaign, that gained nearly 1,000 followers in its first month.
An earlier version of this article included an interview with the administrator of the page. AL.com has since learned the person gave a pseudonym instead of his or her real name, so that portion of the story was removed.
Roy Moore continues to rack up the endorsements from fellow Republicans, from Gov. Kay Ivey to Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, from Sen. Del Marsh to Newt Gingrich.
And a poll released Tuesday by the Senate Leadership Fund has Moore with a 17-point lead over Jones. Contrary to the Republicans who say they are turning to Jones, that same poll contends Moore’s candidacy has "united the Republican Party."
Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan said Republican voters and officials are firmly behind Moore.
"Every Republican member of Alabama’s congressional delegation has endorsed Judge Moore and GOP voters across Alabama are locked-in and excited to support a conservative leader for the U.S. Senate," said Lathan.
"I expect a number of pro-life Democratic voters will cross party lines and cast a vote for Judge Moore on Dec. 12."
On Twitter, the #GOP4Jones hashtag is making the rounds as a way for democrats to connect with potential Republican allies. There’s also an @DougRepublicans account with a profile that says it’s run by "traditional Republicans" and a few hundred followers.
Some identify as #NeverMoore Republicans, reminiscent of the #NeverTrump movement.
AL.com has not seen evidence of any Alabama elected officials or prominent GOP members using the #GOP4Jones hashtag or tweeting support of Jones over Moore. Some conservative pundits, including Bill Kristol of the conservative Weekly Standard, have tweeted their support of Jones and some elected officials, like retiring Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, have been openly critical of Moore.
Jack Helean, a graphic design student living in Huntsville, saw the #GOP4Jones hashtag earlier this month and designed a logo for it on a whim. He posted it on Twitter and on the Republicans for Doug Jones Facebook page.
"Within a day the positive response was pretty huge, which gave me an idea that it would look great on yard signs," he said. "I imagined if it were in yards all over the state, that it would probably give a lot of Republicans permission to vote for Jones, a ‘strength in numbers’ kind of thing.
"Less than a week later it’s pretty obvious that I need to figure out a way to get these things printed."
Katie Smith, a telecommunications professional in Inverness, said she’s ready to cast a vote for Jones, after voting a straight Republican ticket nearly all of her voting life.
"I’m a big believer in not having the government involved in certain aspects of my life; that’s why I’m a Republican," she said. "I don’t like governmental (interference) but he wants to tell me how I have to practice my religion?"
Smith is a devout Christian but said she was turned off by Moore using his faith as a way to exclude others.
"I want somebody in Washington who’s going to represent all of Alabama, not just the segment he deems OK."
Most of the Republicans Smith knows are still planning to vote for Moore. Party lines are difficult to cross, she said. But for her, Moore is a bridge too far.
"Even though I’m not going to put a Doug Jones bumper sticker on the back of my car, I will be voting for Jones in December."
Abortion is an issue that Goode, a Christian who is pro-life, said she grappled with.
"A year ago, if you had told me that I would have to choose between a pro-life and a pro-choice candidate, I would have never thought I would have gone with the pro-choice candidate," said Goode, who said she would never choose abortion for herself.
"But while I want other people to not choose abortion, people are not going to choose life because we make it illegal," she said. "They are going to choose life because they believe that’s what’s best for the fetus and for them and their family."
Alabama hasn’t elected a Democrat to U.S. Senate since 1992 or to statewide office since 2008. A movement of Republican crossover voting in this election has more to do with keeping Moore out of office than a shift in political ideals.
"Roy Moore is an interloper in our midst, a theocrat disguising himself as a Republican," said Tracy James in a public letter outlining her position. Her cousin is former Alabama Gov. Fob James, and her uncle currently serves as a conservative justice on the Alabama Supreme Court.
She was once a staffer for former Sen. Jeff Sessions and also worked on Capitol Hill for former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour when he was Chairman of the Republican National Committee.
"His willful blindness to reality, disrespect for the law of the land, and habit of placing controversy above diplomacy makes Roy Moore completely unfit to be a political representative of any kind," she said.
"For those who say they can’t bring themselves to vote for Moore (and) therefore aren’t going to vote at all; that equals a vote for Moore."
The Doug Jones camp, for its part, has been plugging Jones’ willingness to compromise and reach across the aisle.
"Regardless of political party, Alabamians know that we are better off when our leaders work together to get things done," said Campaign spokesman Sebastian Kitchen. "Democrats, Republicans and independents are joining our campaign and rejecting Roy Moore because they recognize that Moore’s extreme and divisive politics are what’s wrong with Washington."
Republicans who support Jones remain cautious. Goode thinks he has a chance at a strong showing. Her conservative friends and family are divided.
"I know people that are thinking about crossing over," she said, "but I know people who would vote Republican even if their mother was running on the Democratic ticket."
Edited at 3:37 p.m. on 11/2/2017 to remove quotes from an administrator of the Republicans for Doug Jones Facebook page after AL.com learned the administrator gave a pseudonym during the interview.
via Real-Time News from AL.com http://bit.ly/2zzWl2c
November 2, 2017 at 06:08AM