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Bernie Sanders, Randall Woodfin may aid Doug Jones in Senate campaign

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Wednesday, October 17, The New York Times reported that “national leaders, including Senators Chuck Schumer and Bernie Sanders, have appealed to Mr. Woodfin to deploy his field organization to help Mr. Jones in the Special Election for the Senate.”

Randall Woodfin is the 36-year-old mayor-elect of Birmingham. Woodfin told the reporters, Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns, that African-Americans are “looking for people to fight for their issues.”

“There is not one person in Birmingham who disagrees we need Doug Jones,” said Randall Woodfin. “The issue is motivating them to come out and vote for him.”

According to the article, Democratic strategists believe that if they can maximize Black turnout for Jones and win just a third of the White voters, then Jones can beat Republican Roy Moore, a former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Blacks are a fourth of voters in the state and vote overwhelmingly for Democratic candidates.

Jones served as U.S. attorney along with Eric Holder, who later served as President Barack H. Obama’s (D) U.S. attorney general. Holder told The New York Times reporters that he has talked with Jones by phone and plans to host a fund-raising event for the Jones campaign. Holder said that his wife, Dr. Sharon Malone, whose sister was the first Black graduate of the University of Alabama, intended to campaign for Mr. Jones.

Mr. Holder said in an interview that while some attention needs to be focused on reaching out to White voters, “But that doesn’t mean that you don’t also focus on issues of particular concern to African-Americans.”

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Jones has made his prosecution of two Klu Klux Klansmen for the murders of four little girls killed in the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church a focal point of his campaign in order to motivate Black voters to turn out.

Former President Barack H. Obama (D) is holding campaign rallies in Virginia and New Jersey in order to maximize Black turnout in races in those states. It is not known if President Obama plans to come to Alabama to campaign for Jones.

Jones has the endorsement of Joe Reed and the powerful Alabama Democratic Conference.

“Bernie Sanders, and the rest of the Obama-Clinton machine, have called on their foot soldiers nationwide to invade Alabama and topple our campaign. They hope they can come in here and overwhelm us, but they don’t know our grassroots army of supporters like we do! We need all hands on deck to defeat these Democrats and keep Alabama red!” Moore said in a statement on Facebook.

“’We dare defend our rights’ is our state motto – and the GOP will defend holding this U.S. Senate seat for the conservative values of Alabama citizens and families,” Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan said in a statement.

On Monday, a new poll by Fox 10 WALA TV/Strategic Research showed Moore leading Jones 52 to 41 percent with just 7 percent still undecided.

The Special Election between Moore and Jones for the Senate seat formerly held by Jeff Sessions will be on Dec. 12, 2017.

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

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