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Alabama Senate candidate Doug Jones is closing in on Roy Moore after sexual abuse allegations. But Democrats in Washington are keeping their distance.
WASHINGTON — After several women came forward with sexual
misconduct
allegations against Roy Moore, the Republican lead in
the Alabama special Senate election has
all but evaporated, placing Democrat Doug Jones in prime
position to flip one of the deepest red seats in the country.
But Democrats are playing it cool, leaving all aspects of the
campaign to Jones’s in-state operation. An armada of national
field staff and piles of outside money could do more harm
than good in a political climate fed up with the Washington
establishment.
“We don’t have to focus on that,” said Senate Minority Whip Dick
Durbin of adding additional resources to the race. “The rest of
America is.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also played down the
national party’s role in Alabama, telling reporters in
a Monday press conference that “it’s an Alabama race.”
“When they ask us for help, we’ll do it,” Schumer said. “But it’s
been an Alabama race. Period.”
Montana Sen. Jon Tester, who chaired the Democratic
Senatorial Campaign Committee last cycle, said flipping
an Alabama seat “would be huge” for the Democratic Party, but
that “it’s better to have a race run by home.”
“But I’m telling you, even in my race, there’s a ton of money
from outside the state that comes in,” Tester added,
noting high profile races’ propensity for outside
influence. “Just like in every state.”
Tester’s claim about the inevitability of outside influence
is proving to be correct. Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Joe Donnelly,
and others sent fundraising emails to supporters on behalf of
Jones on Monday evening. On Tuesday, the California-based Daily
Kos announced a $100,000 cash haul for Jones from 4,000
individual donors in just five days.
And the Alabama race could function as a dry run for
flipping Republican seats because the influx of
controversial GOP candidates like Moore provides a lane for
Democrats to gain broader appeal, according to Durbin.
“It’s not a state that we would put on the list of possibilities
but it’s an indication of the upheaval in American politics and
of President Trump,” Durbin said. “And the fact that with Steve
Bannon playing his cards, they’re could be more candidates in the
future who are very controversial.”
“I could tell you without naming names, there are states where
Republicans up for reelection who were considered so safe, we
didn’t even talk about them, who tell me privately they are
wondering if Bannon and Breitbart are gonna come after them in
the primary,” Durbin added. “And we could see repeats of this
Alabama scenario in a lot of very red states.”

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