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Jones says his opponent will be “extremist” like Moore or “handpicked by McConnell”

Embattled Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore testifies during his ethics trial at the Alabama Court of the Judiciary at the Alabama Judicial Building in Montgomery, Ala., on Wednesday September 28, 2016.

U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, commented Thursday on the news that former Chief Justice Roy Moore is running for the Republican nomination to oppose him in the 2020 election for Senate.

“Today, Roy Moore has made what was already going to be a divisive Republican primary even more polarizing and extreme,” Jones said in a statement. “We don’t need any more of that. Worse, it’s now clear that my opponent will either be an extremist like Roy Moore or someone handpicked by Mitch McConnell to be his senator, not Alabama’s. The only question left is who will be McConnell’s choice?”

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, is the Senate majority leader and a vocal opponent of Moore’s candidacy.

“I want to talk to Alabamians about solutions to improve all of our lives, address very real health care concerns, better education, strengthen our security, both militarily and economically and help attract more businesses to our state,” Jones continued. “It comes down to solving problems, not divisive partisanship or extreme ideas that do nothing for Alabama families.”

Moore made the announcement at a venue adjoining his foundation’s offices in Montgomery on Thursday afternoon.

Moore, at his announcement event, said he would have won the last actually election race but that his victory was stolen by Russian-style tactics in Operation New Birmingham,.  Moore denounced the “false flag: tactics which even Jones has repudiated. Moore said the $750,000 illicit efforts by Democratic operatives targeted 650,000 Alabama voters, repeating falsehoods about him over and over again.

Moore said he knows that Democratic political operatives ran Operation New Birmingham, but he suspected that Republicans also colluded with the Democrats to defeat him. Moore defeated McConnell’s chosen candidate, appointed Sen. Luther Strange in the Republican primary runoff. National GOP dollars from the McConnell controlled Senate Leadership Committee and National Republican Senatorial Committee flooded into Strange’s struggling campaign, but those money sources dried up when Moore was elected as the Republican nominee.

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Moore appeared to be cruising to an easy 10-point victory over Jones in the 2017 special election when The Washington Post published a story detailing accusations from several women about Moore’s sexual harassment and abuse from the 1970s in the Gadsden area. Moore denied the accusations, but Republican money from out of state dried up, while national Democrats poured in over $20 million into the state to elect Jones.

Moore said his accusers won’t be a concern this time around because the people of Alabama see through that, especially after what happened with Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

“You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time,” Moore said.

Jones’s unlikely victory over Moore in the 2017 special election is the only instance in which the voters of Alabama have chosen any Democratic candidate over a Republican in a statewide race since 2008. Republicans swept all of the statewide offices in 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018 general elections. Gov. Kay Ivey (R) got almost 60 percent of the vote in her election bid in November, despite having a qualified opponent.

Moore’s critics say that Moore is the only Republican nominee who could have lost that race in the first place. Even President Donald Trump has said Moore as the nominee increases the chances that Jones will be re-elected.

Jones has said he will defeat Moore or anybody else that the Republicans nominate in 2020.

Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan said there is “a hunger” for this seat among Republicans that she has never seen before.

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Jones was a former U.S. Attorney, appointed by former President Bill Clinton. Prior to that, Jones was a top aide to former Sen. Howell Heflin, D-Alabama. More recently, Jones was a private practice attorney in Birmingham.

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

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