Roy Moore’s horror show
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Roy Moore is trying to scare his way into the United States Senate.
In the final days of Alabama’s raucous Senate race, the Republican candidate is invoking conservatives’ go-to list of liberal bogeymen as he tries to energize GOP voters. Moore’s campaign has singled out everyone and everything from George Soros and kneeling NFL players, to the media and the specter of voter fraud.
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And that’s just in the last week.
Moore, trying to fend off numerous allegations of sexual harassment or worse, has been largely absent from the campaign trail in recent weeks, aside from a Tuesday rally with former White House strategist Steve Bannon. But Moore’s campaign has been busy: It held a news conference Thursday alleging “election theft” and attacking a Democratic super PAC, Highway 31, for running what it says are misleading and deceptive advertisements.
The moves by Moore’s shoestring campaign fit in with the candidate’s long history of embracing unproven conspiracy theories. They are aimed at discouraging GOP-leaning voters from crossing the aisle and backing Democrat Doug Jones.
Jones laughed off Moore’s accusations.
“He’s claiming voter fraud already?” Jones said to reporters. “It seems like every time somebody gets behind and they’re going to lose an election, they start claiming voter fraud.”
Democrats’ internal polling shows Jones running neck-and-neck with Moore in this deep red state where President Donald Trump romped to victory. The party is spending heavily on radio and TV ads to make the case that electing Moore would do irreparable damage to the state’s reputation.
Moore, in response, has implored Alabamians not to listen to the outsiders.
“They just don’t like conservatives like us,” Moore says in a recent ad. “They call us warmongers for wanting to rebuild the military, racists for wanting to secure the border and bigots for recognizing the sanctity of marriage and they call us foolish for believing in God.”
On Tuesday, the Moore campaign raised fears of widespread voter fraud in the state. It sent a letter to Alabama’s Republican Secretary of State noting that some absentee ballots in Bullock County, in the state’s black belt, had been marked for Jones before being sent out. Bill Armistead, the Moore campaign chairman, said he was “disturbed” and wanted reassurances the incident was “not part of a broader plot to steal this election.”
Secretary of State John Merrill, a Republican, said he warned county election officials to make sure the issue wasn’t widespread.
Two days later, Moore campaign officials accused Highway 31 of “election theft” at a press conference in Montgomery. They argued that a digital ad from the group warning voters that their vote was public and “your community will know whether or not you helped stop Roy Moore” was misleading since voters’ ballot selections remain private. Merrill asked Google to take down the ads, which were running in front of YouTube videos.
Meanwhile, at his rally with Bannon on Tuesday, Moore claimed “Soros’ army” was in the state trying to register voters, referring to the Hungarian-born financier and progressive donor who is frequently invoked by conservatives. The claims relate to work by progressive groups to register felons to vote after their rights were restored earlier this year, thanks to a law sponsored and signed by Republicans in Alabama.
“No matter how much money he’s got, he’s still going to the same place that people who don’t recognize God and morality and accept his salvation are going,” Moore said of Soros in an interview on American Family Radio earlier this week. “And that’s not a good place.”
Washington Republicans charged with winning Senate elections — the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Senate Leadership Fund — are still staying away from Moore, and are largely in the dark about his chances of winning. Moore does have outside help: The RNC sent $170,000 to the Alabama GOP to help their field efforts, and the pro-Trump super PAC America First Action is out with mailers saying Jones “stands in the way of making America great again.”
The first bullet point on the mailer? Jones “publicly supports players kneeling to protest the National Anthem.” (The players are protesting police violence against African-Americans, not the anthem.)
When the football protest controversy flared in October, Jones said Moore, who was twice removed from the state Supreme Court, lacked the “moral authority” to criticize NFL players.
The National Rifle Association is also spending $55,000 on mailers attacking Jones.
Moore’s focus on liberal bogeymen comes as Democrats grow increasingly confident in their field operation. Jones has told volunteers they will have knocked on 100,000 doors and made 1 million phone calls by Election Day. Jones visited a field office in Huntsville filled with volunteers making phone calls on his behalf on Thursday afternoon. Print-outs on the wall listed the phone numbers for legal help with voting or a ride to the polls.
The volunteers, mostly older women, wore T-shirts declaring “VOTE OR DIE” and “NO MOORE.”
Outside groups are spending tens of thousands of dollars trying to turn out minority voters. The Voter Participation Center is reaching out to 327,500 African-American and Latino voters statewide, the group said, part of a non-partisan push to remind minorities to vote that includes 423,000 mail pieces.
BlackPAC, which played a major role turning out African-Americans in Virginia’s gubernatorial race, is also spending $22,000 on canvassing for Jones.
And the Democrat is getting a boost from Stand Up Republic, a group founded by anti-Trump conservative presidential candidate Evan McMullin, which is spending $500,000 to run two different ads attacking Moore.
“My family’s been in Alabama for four generations, and Roy Moore doesn’t represent this state,” a Republican named Robert de Buys says in the ad. “I’ve been a Republican all my life, but I won’t vote for Roy Moore. I just can’t.”
Much of Jones’ advertising has focused on how electing Moore would embarrass the state and hurt its business climate. A radio ad from Highway 31, a pro-Jones outside group that has avoided revealing its donors, opens with a male narrator listing Alabama’s accomplishments, including building rockets for NASA, winning college football championships and producing civil rights leaders.
“This is Alabama. A proud history with a bright future,” the narrator says. “But after this Tuesday, Alabama could become something very different. We could become the state that elected an accused pedophile to the U.S. Senate. Don’t let Alabama’s good name be tarnished.”
via Politico http://politi.co/2lnbIsw
December 9, 2017 at 08:12AM