After President Donal Trump and the Republican National Committee (RNC) endorsed Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, national Democrats started flocking to his competition, Doug Jones. On Monday, news broke that former president Barack Obama has gotten in on the action.
“This one’s serious,” Obama said in a recorded call. “You can’t sit it out.”
Two Democrat officials told CNN that Obama recorded the phone message a few days back, at the time Trump jumped back into the race. Obama does not mention Roy Moore by name in the recording.
“Doug Jones is a fighter for equality, for progress,” Obama said. “Doug will be our champion for justice. So get out and vote, Alabama.”
Perhaps ironically, a recent poll found Obama is more popular than Trump among Alabama voters.
According to CNN, the former president recorded the message specifically for black voters whose turnout is critical for Jones. Many have backed Jones specifically to defeat Moore, who has faced multiple accusations from women who claimed he pursued relationships with them while they were teenagers and he was in his 30s.
One woman in particular, Leigh Corfman, alleged that Moore felt her up when she was 14 — an action considered sexual assault under Alabama law, even if she had consented.
Last week, former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney drew a line in the sand. “Roy Moore in the US Senate would be a stain on the GOP and on the nation. Leigh Corfman and other victims are courageous heroes. No vote, no majority is worth losing our honor, our integrity,” Romney tweeted.
Roy Moore in the US Senate would be a stain on the GOP and on the nation. Leigh Corfman and other victims are courageous heroes. No vote, no majority is worth losing our honor, our integrity.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) December 4, 2017
Some Republicans have gone so far in opposing Moore that they have financially contributed to Jones’ campaign. Arizona Senator Jeff Flake tweeted a picture of a check by which he gave the Jones campaign $100. His caption? “Country over Party.”
Country over Party pic.twitter.com/JZMTaEYdxQ
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) December 5, 2017
Obama is not the only national Democrat to back Jones. Last week, Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) told a crowd in Montgomery, “I’m here to try and help some folk get woke!”
Before Booker, Vice President Joe Biden campaigned for Jones in October.
Jones has specifically campaigned at African-American churches to drum up last-minute support.
Recent polls have been extremely volatile, with Jones ahead by 8 points and Moore ahead by 9 points. Many suspect that Alabama voters would tell pollsters they couldn’t vote for Moore, but might pull the lever for the Republican anyway.
Many Republicans doubt the allegations against Moore, a situation made even worse by the fact that one accuser is represented by Gloria Allred. Allred misrepresented a key piece of evidence against Moore — saying that Moore signed the entirety of a yearbook entry, when in fact the woman accusing Moore added at least a note later.
As Allred’s involvement in the Moore case made Alabamans less likely to trust the allegations against Moore, so Obama’s involvement may actually give Moore a boost in the deep-red state.
Then again, a recent Fox News poll found that Obama is more popular (52 percent) with Alabama voters than Trump (49 percent). Even so, Moore is a conservative in a conservative state. He has a great deal of baggage, but Trump’s election last year shows that conservatives will often overlook character flaws in order to stand for important issues.
The race on Tuesday will come down to the wire, and that explains why Obama got involved even at this late date.