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Alabama Democratic Conference endorses Doug Jones for Senate

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Saturday, July 29, 2017, the Alabama Democratic Conference (ADC) met in a Special Session on Saturday and screened all the candidates for US Senate in the August 15, Democratic Primary.  The ADC announced that they are endorsing former US Attorney Doug Jones.

The ADC said in their statement that all the candidates were allowed to make their presentation to persuade the committee why they should be endorsed.

State Chairman of the ADC, Joe Reed said that all candidates were found to be acceptable but, very few were found to be electable.  Chairman Reed said, “Most of the candidates appearing before the ADC were well-spoken and appeared to be good Democrats, but the Executive Committee did not believe that they could defeat the Republicans in the General Election.”

The ADC said that applying the long-standing principal of the ADC that one must be acceptable and electable before he or she can be endorsed meant that Doug Jones was the best candidate for the ADC.

Doug Jones is a Birmingham Attorney in a private practice who formally served as US Attorney during the Clinton Administration. During his first year in that office Jones led a re-investigation into the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church that killed four little girls and horrified the nation.  The office convicted two former Klansmen for the murder of four black girls attending Sunday School at the church   Doug Jones also has experience in the Senate working for the late Senator Howell Heflin (D-Alabama).  He has had a long affiliation with the Alabama Democratic Party.

The Alabama Democratic Conference, formerly known as the Black Political Caucus of Alabama, was established in 1960.  It was founded to encourage all voters, but especially other African Americans, to vote for the Democratic candidate, who at the time was John F. Kennedy with Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson.  The founders of this influential group include Arthur Shores, Rufus Lewis, Dr. C.G. Gomillion, Q. D. Adams, Isom Clemon, and Beulah Johnson.  The Alabama Democratic Conference now promotes the Democratic Party throughout the entire state thanks to having many chapters and other affiliated organizations.  The stated mission of the Alabama Democratic Conference is to “organize” and to “unify” the vote of the African American population and also to make the African American vote and opinion appreciated and respected.  Prior to the ADC most Blacks in Alabama (when they could vote) supported Republicans due to President Abraham Lincoln’s (R) freeing of the slaves and Republican efforts during Reconstruction to bring the recent freedmen into full participation into American Society.  Today the ADC is headed by retired Alabama Education Association (AEA) executive Joe Reed.

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There are seven candidates running in the Alabama Democratic Party Special Primary Election for US Senate. Qualified candidates are Will Boyd, Vann Caldwell, Jason Fisher, Michael Hansen, Doug Jones, Robert Kennedy, Jr., and Charles Nana.

Brian McGee has dropped out of the race and endorsed Doug Jones.

The candidates are running for the Senate vacancy created when Senator Jeff Sessions (R) was confirmed by the Senate as US Attorney General.  Former Alabama Governor Robert Bentley selected then Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange (R) to fill the post until the people can select their own replacement.

The winner of the Democratic Party Primary will face the winner of the Republican Party Primary in the Special General Election on December 12.  If necessary there will be a Special Primary Runoff Election on September 26.

We have seen only one poll, that done by Raycom and Strategy Research out of Mobile, in the Democratic Party Primary field.  Robert Kennedy Jr. was leading with 49 percent of the vote.  Jones was second with 28 percent.

With the US Senate divided 52 to 48 in favor of the Republican Party, this Special Election has enormous national repercussions on the balance of power.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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