In the Alabama Senate special election primary, no Republican won the majority necessary to avoid a runoff, but Doug Jones locked up the Democratic nomination. Typically a Democrat would stand no chance in the deeply Republican state, but this is a bitter Republican race.
Doug Jones Beat the KKKJones, as we reported previously, is best known for the successful prosecution of two Ku Klux Klan members responsible for the 1963 Birmingham church bombing that killed four young African-American girls. (In his victory speech, a few days after the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, he said "15 years ago, I actually went up against the Klan. And we won.")
But he doesn't trade on that part of his resume in this introductory campaign video, nor does he lay out a set of positions. Instead, he holds himself up as a man of "reason" and "dialogue."
The video is no-frills. Jones speaks to the camera sans music, putting the emphasis on the words.
"We're so divided as a state and a nation, that there needs to be more voices of reason who want more dialogues than monologues, we need leaders who people can talk to, reason with and trust, even if they don't agree on every political position." In doing so, he trying to give a reason to the largely conservative pool of general election voters that they can vote for him despite significant ideological disagreements.
Doug Jones Embarrassed By Robert BentleyHe then proceeds to attack, though not by name, the disgraced former Gov. Robert Bentley, who was forced to resign after a sex and corruption scandal: "Alabama has been embarrassed enough the last few years by political leaders who have not been leaders at all. Instead of listening to the concerns that each of us face every day -- like jobs and wages, adequate and affordable health care, and first-rate educations for our children and grandchildren -- they've played on our fears and exploited our divisions for their own self-interest."
Other Republicans have won special elections this year, not with calls for unity, but with tough attacks against cultural liberalism. If Jones is going to break the pattern in this decidedly conservative state, he has to hope the Republican runoff will be divisive enough to give a Democrat who preaches "dialogue" a second look.