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Alabama Democrats To Out-Of-Staters: ‘Stay Home’
Amid allegations that Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore sexually assaulted multiple women in their teens (while he was in his 30s) back in the late 1970s, many have seen the Alabama special election senate race as a rare opportunity for a Democratic candidate to win. Doug Jones, a Democrat who took on the KKK in the state, is running for the Democrats against Moore, and currently polling alongside Moore in a neck-and-neck race (one poll even shows he’s winning).
But Democrats in the state are attempting to take the high ground. And while they appreciate the help being offered by out-of-state party members, their message is clear: the best way to help is to stay in your own state.
Giles Perkins, a former head of the state’s Democratic Party, explained that he tells individuals to “stay home” if they’re thinking of visiting Alabama. “This is an Alabama race, and we will decide it here,” Perkins said.
Bob Vance, who ran against Moore in 2012 for the State Supreme Court agrees — and hopes that the local issues remain relevant. “I’ve been nervous about this hoopla involving Roy Moore because of the danger of sucking out the issues — kitchen table issues — that [Jones] needs to focus on,” he said.
“Alabama is a state where they’re not too fond of outsiders coming in and telling them what to do and how to do it,” Anthony Daniels, the house minority leader in the state’s legislature, explains.
He’s absolutely right — I can attest to this personally. Alabama is a second home to me, a place where my family frequently visited during spring breaks of my childhood. While we were always welcomed with the greatest of southern hospitality, outsiders trying to influence the race would be seen as a bad reflection on the state party’s attempts to win the election in December.
That isn’t to say that outsiders can’t help in other ways. Donations can be made to Doug Jones’s campaign, and as Roy Moore has certainly sought outside help from donors outside the state, it would be fine for Democrats hoping for a big win here to do the same. (Moore even used allegations against him in his latest email soliciting donations.)
Still, as tempting as it is to make the trip to Alabama, party leaders are right to say you should stay home. Your activism is greatly appreciated, and should be utilized more locally to your state. But going to Alabama to help Doug Jones might actually hurt his cause more than anything.