By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Wednesday, September 13, 2017, a spokesperson for the Roy Moore campaign told The Alabama Political Reporter, “We have agreed to a debate. The details are being worked out.”
Earlier in the day in Mountain Brook, U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore addressed accusations from the Luther Strange campaign that his decision to back out of participation in the Alabama Policy Institute debate was because he was afraid to face Sen. Luther Strange, R-Ala.
Moore said Wednesday morning, “I have been a fighter all of my life. I fought for this country in Vietnam, and I’ve refused to stand down to liberals even when it has cost me my job and career. I will not back down and have never wavered in testifying for truth.”
Moore and Strange had both agreed to participate in a debate sponsored by API at Samford University in Homewood, Alabama. Moore said that he backed out after learning that API President and CEO Caleb Crosby was also the treasurer of the Senate Leadership Fund, which has spent millions of dollars on false and misleading attacks against him and his wife to try to elect Strange.
Moore said that other employees at API did not know about the connection between Crosby and the Senate Leadership Fund.
Moore said that he would debate, but only if it was an 1858 Lincoln-Douglas style man-to-man debate with no moderators. The Strange campaign – which has been trailing in all the polls throughout – rejected those terms and have suggested alternate terms.
Moore said, “Today, the Luther Strange Campaign rejected our offer of a debate by offering additional terms. After being caught with their hand in the cookie jar, trying to manipulate the last debate, they have lost their opportunity to set terms for any further public discussion.”
Moore said, “My opponent failed to come 8 of the 12 forums that were set in the Primary.” He did not start coming to forums until it became apparent that he was losing.
Moorse said that Strange avoided the primary debate because he was hiding his appointment by former Gov. Robert Bentley.
Moore said that Strange and his wealthy Washington allies have launched a number of ads with lies about his positions, including one in which they claimed that Moore opposed the border wall. Moore said that if we need a border wall, he supports a border wall, but suggested that the Military could be used on the border with effectiveness.
APR asked, “You spent several years on the bench as a judge. In all that time did any prosecutor, to your knowledge, ever interview for a job with the defendant in an ongoing criminal investigation?”
Moore said, “No, that is Strange.”
Moore said in a statement that the API debate felt too much like a pre-set political trick organized by the Strange Campaign, their allies at the Senate Leadership Fund, the proposed moderator – a former Vice-President at API – and the leadership of the Alabama Policy Institute.
Moore said in a statement on Tuesday, “I propose a public debate, mano a mano, no tricks, no moderators, no questions from the press. Just Luther Strange and me on the stage presenting our issues and the opponents’ responses thereto. All statewide press and TV present. A timekeeper will be selected by mutual agreement. We will get to the truth about Luther Strange’s appointment deal with Governor Bentley while he was under investigation by the Attorney General’s office, why Luther Strange sided with Mitch McConnell to support the very Senate gamesmanship that has sunk President Trump’s agenda, the basis for the false accusations against me, and why Luther Strange has taken millions in Washington special interest money for his campaign. We will do this Lincoln-Douglas style and have a real debate.”
Raycom has also proposed terms for a debate. The Moore campaign rejected that format as well because Raycom wanted to have a moderator.
The Senate Leadership Fund is managed by former Bush Administration strategist, Karl Rove, and is controlled by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Strange and Moore will face off in the Republican special election runoff on Sept. 26.
The winner of the runoff will face Clinton-era U.S. Attorney Doug Jones in the Dec. 12, 2017, special general election.
The Republican Party nominee has won every statewide election in Alabama since 2010.
As of press time, 12:38 a.m., the two campaigns had reached a tentative agreement on a televised debate. The Moore campaign had been asking for a Sept. 21 televised debate with no moderator. The two campaigns were still negotiating the details of the deal.