Clash of civilizations: meet Doug Jones, the overlooked Alabama U.S. Senate candidate challenging Roy Moore

Clash of civilizations: meet Doug Jones, the overlooked Alabama U.S. Senate candidate challenging Roy Moore

The candidates in the Dec. 12 special election couldn't be more different. While Moore is accused of preying on young girls, Jones prosecuted the white supremacists who killed four black girls in a notorious church bombing. But, the Democratic party has not won a U.S. Senate race in Alabama in 25 years.

Doug Jones

Lea esta nota en español.

The outcome of next month's crucial election for the U.S. Senate in Alabama is rooted in the past.

News coverage of the Dec. 12 election, which could determine the political balance of power, is overshadowed by allegations that the Republican candidate, former judge Roy Moore, acted inappropriately towards young girls decades ago.

Largely overlooked in the race is Moore's Democratic rival, former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones, whose main claim to fame is his role in the conviction of two white supremacists for a 1963 church bombing that killed four young black girls.

"Both have experience with young children," said Donald Watkins, a wealthy black businessman and former attorney who knows both men. "Doug Jones avenged the death of four little girls in a church bombing, on the other hand Roy Moore was preying on young girls, stalking them and molesting them."

Moore denies the allegations of misconduct though he told the Washington Post he may have dated teen girls when he was in his 30s.

Polls show Moore's once commanding double-digit lead is shrinking fast in a state that President Donald Trump won by 28 points last November. A victory for Jones would be historic given that the last time a Democrat won a U.S. Senate race in Alabama was Richard Shelby 25 years ago. Shelby became a Republican two years later, and still represents Alabama.

Losing the Alabama senate seat would also be a huge blow to the White House. Republicans currently control the Senate by a narrow margin of 52-48, but the party's hold is fragile. Several Republicans have lately sided with Democrats and voted against Trump's wishes on key legislation such as healthcare.

Alabama Senate Special Election - Moore vs. Jones
Preference of likely voters in Alabama. Conducted November 13-15, 2017 with margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
Non White
FUENTE: Fox News /Anderson Robbins Research (D) / Shaw & Company Research (R) | UNIVISION

Beyond the issue of Moore's sexual behavior, the Alabama Senate election has exposed unresolved social tensions over traditional southern values, such as white, male supremacy, which date back to the Civil War and still lie just beneath the surface of Alabama politics.

"What we are seeing is a window into the past. It really has to do with their (Moore supporters') concept of what is the norm or what is tradition," said Donald Jones, a University of Miami constitutional law professor, who is black. "One of those traditions is segregation. They like the idea of white privilege. They want more. They see it (the election) as a civilizational battle against liberal elitists in the north ... their traditions are being assaulted."

Roy Moore, el candidato republicano al Senado por Alabama.
Roy Moore, el candidato republicano al Senado por Alabama.

While Moore, 70, represents traditional southern values, and enjoys the fervent support of religious conservatives, Jones, 63, is supported by moderate and independent voters and widely admired by Alabama's large black community which makes up 26% of the state's voting population, as well as a far smaller Latino community.

The 16th St Baptist Church bombing in 1963 served as a major catalyst in the movement for racial equality and the passage of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans racial discrimination. It took years to prosecute the Ku Klux Klan members who carried out the attack and the case was only reopend after it was revealed that the FBI hid key documents in the case.

The four young girls killed during the 1963 bombing of 16th Street Bapti...
The four young girls killed during the 1963 bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama: Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Denise McNair who died September 15, 1963 when a bomb planted bywhite supremacists exploded exploded at the church.

Jones prosecuted two of the attackers 2001 and 2002, during which time he became close to the relatives of the victims.

"He's family"

"He did a fabulous job ... He's family," said Lisa McNair, 53, the sister of Denise McNair who was 11 when she died, and the youngest of the four girls. "When the verdict came down it was one of the most surreal moments of my life to hear them say 'guilty,'" she said.

"I just cried from within ... tears just came streaming out of me," she recalled. "By the time I caught myself and looked up where the lawyers were, the prosecutors, Doug and the other lawyers, were deep in tears as well. "I'll never forget how moved they were. You knew they would be excited and happy for us, but you could tell by their tears that this meant something to them as well. They were there for us in a real sense."


McNair and Jones remain friends. "I talk to Doug all the time. We text on game day," she said, noting that they are both big fans of the nation's No 1 ranked University of Alabama football team, known as the Crimson Tide.

"He comes by and checks on mum. He's not a career politician. He's real people. That's what we need at this time to bring some unity to the United States," she added.

President Barack Obama signs a bill in the Oval Office designating the C...
President Barack Obama signs a bill in the Oval Office designating the Congressional Gold Medal to commemorate the four young girls killed during the 1963 bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, by white supremacists. Former US Attorney Doug Jones is on the far right along with (L-R) Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, Birmingham Mayor William Bell, Dr Sharon Malone Holder, Attorney General Eric Holder, Rep Terri Sewell (D-AL), Thelma Pippen McNair, mother of Denise McNair, Lisa McNair, sister of Denise McNair, Dianne Braddock, sister of Carole Robertson, Rev Arthur Price, Jr, pastor 16th Street Baptist Church. May 24, 2013 in Washington, DC.

In 1963, Alabama was the center of a non-violent civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King Jr. against longtime Governor George Wallace, a die-hard segregationist.

Moore is a throwback to those times, say some analysts. He brandished a revolver at one campaign rally, wearing a cowboy hat and leather waistcoat, and went to vote in the primary on horseback. "He's like a Governor Wallace of the 21st century," said Jones, the University of Miami professor who is no relation of the candidate.

Moore was twice kicked off the state Supreme Court for advocating extreme social conservatism, including refusing to remove a monument he commissioned of the Ten Commandments from the Alabama Judicial Building.

In contrast, Jones represents more modern, enlightened Alabamians, who embrace racial diversity.

From a blue-collar family, his father worked at U.S. Steel while his mother stayed home to raise their children. Jones got Senate experience in Washington after law school when he served as staff counsel to the U.S Senate Judiciary Committee for Senator Howell Heflin, a highly regarded moderate Alabama Democrat who Jones says is his model.

"I want to be a voice for reason in the turmoil of modern Washington," Jones wrote on a message to voters on his campaign website.

"He's someone who's been in the trenches and can understand complex issues," said Freddy Rubio, a Hispanic attorney who worked for a time at the same lawfirm as Jones a decade ago. Jones had been considering running for the U.S. Senate for a number of years, Rubio said. "The time has come. He found the right moment," he added.

A fiscal conservative and social moderate, Jones enjoys name recognition statewide. "That’s slightly unusual for a Democrat in Alabama. So he is viable and has financial backing to run a competitive race," said Watkins.

Defends immigrants

During his career he served as the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama beginning in 1997 which includes an agricultural region which attracts Mexican farm laborers to pick tomatos. He is sympathetic to immigrants and has come out in support of the DACA program for the country's 800,000 so-called Dreamers, the children of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as minors.


In 2011 he spoke out against a state law, known as HB 56, considered the harshest anti-immigrant law in the nation, which denied all public services to undocumented immigrants and required state and local law enforcement officers to verify the immigration status of those they suspect of being in the country illegally, raising accusations of racial profiling.

Jones conducted a series of town halls on the issue with then Justice Department civil rights lawyer Tom Perez, now the head of the Democratic National Committee.

Jones declined to be interviewed for this story. He is also keeping his own national party figures at arms’ length so as not to provoke more local resentment over outside interference by the poliitcal elites. The only big out-of-state names to join him on the campaign trail are former vice president Joe Biden and Georgia congressman John Lewis, a black civil rights leader.

Jones reportedly canceled a find-raising trip to Washington this week.

But, in a state with a large evangelical voting bloc, Jones' public support for abortion rights makes him unpopular with most conservative voters, and could cost him the election.

When asked in one recent poll if the sexual misconduct allegations against Moore had influenced their support, 35 percent of all likely voters said the allegations made them more likely to vote for Moore. Another 11% said the allegations made it less likely they would vote for Moore and 36% said they intended to vote for Jones anyway. Another 18 percent said they were either undecided, or that the allegations made no difference to them.

Alabama Senate Special Election - Moore vs. Jones
Preference of likely voters in Alabama. Conducted November 13-15, 2017 with margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
White College
White No Degree
FUENTE: Fox News /Anderson Robbins Research (D) / Shaw & Company Research (R) | UNIVISION

"He might be in hot water but I got to stay the course and vote Republican," said Carlos Romero, 72, a real estate businessman who grew up in California and moved to Alabama 25 years ago.

A lifelong Republican, he questioned the allegations saying some of the evidence against Moore "stinks" of fabrication. "He might have done some things when he was younger, but who didn't," he said, adding that he married a woman 12 years his junior and they remain together after 40 years.

Two new polls this week has Jones pulling ahead for the first time in the race. A Fox poll on Thursday showed the Jones had dramatically taken the lead by eight points over Moore. He was trailing by double digits just a few weeks ago before the scandal hit.

On the other hand, Moore's extremism has alienated major Republican Party donors allowing Jones to outspend him 11-to-one on TV ads, according to Advertising Analytics.


One of his campaign ads features a sequence of Republican vowing to vote for Jones because of the sexual scandal involving a growing list of women.

Says one middle-aged white man: "I'm a lifelong Republican but I just can't do it."

In photos: A year after Trump's triumph, diversity prevailed in local elections
Ralph Northam celebrating his victory in Virginia's gobernatorial el...
Virginia election provides Democrats with recipe for Latino vote in 2018
Latino Democrats rode to victory on Tuesday with a "going local" strategy. Activists say the key to success was recruiting a new crop of progressive candidates in state races, as well as a 'Trump effect' which saw angry voters mobilized to push back against policies that criminalize immigrants.
The president's tweets railing against immigrants and DACA apparently came after Fox News sounded the alarm about a caravan of "illegals" intending to cross into the United States. It’s actually a group of Central American migrants seeking to raise awareness about poverty and violence in their countries.
These three videos of hate incidents at Walmarts are not isolated incidents. More than 35 reports at some of its stores have come into Documenting Hate, a project led by ProPublica that is tracking bias incidents and hate crimes around the country since the presidential election; Univision is a partner in the project.
The Sepúlveda Rolón family do not enough money to buy and maintain an electric generator. Common household tasks are more complicated due to lack of power. They are one of the more than 140,000 families that remain without electricity in Puerto Rico.
A search for the word 'deportation' on platforms like GoFundMe and YouCaring brings up hundreds of people raising money to support family members and friends.
Immigrants advocacy groups report 300 shootings aboard the train known as the The Beast. Migrant victims point to security guards hired by the government.
When Rodrigo Duterte was sworn in as Philippines’ president in June 2016, he declared a war on drug traffickers and users. Since then, Human Rights groups estimate more than 12,000 people have been killed in this offensive they call "a war on the poor." Univision News traveled to Manila and witnessed this conflict first hand.
They grew up in Chicago and their husbands, the Flores twins (aka ‘Los Mellizos’), worked for the Sinaloa cartel. The twins later became DEA informants in Mexico who helped bring down El Chapo Guzman. They have written a book, Cartel Wives, telling their story as a lesson to others not to fall for the narco life, and they regret what they put their families through. "Our fathers put on their suit of armor and their badge, and they are going out there on the streets of Chicago,” Mia confesses. “It’s the very same streets that our husbands were flooding with drugs.”
The Rio Abajo bridge was swept away leaving the town of Utuado cut off. Neighbors engineered a pulley system to haul supplies over the river but they wonder when their lives will return to any semblance of normality.
A scene form the new documentary A Long Way From Home about the desegregation of professional baseball.
Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz reacted to comments on Twitter by President Trump in which he said Puerto Ricans “want everything done for them."
It is estimated that there are almost as many Puerto Ricans living off the island as the 3.4 million that reside there. After Hurricane Maria, almost all communication was lost between those on the island and in the diaspora. Univision sent a reporting team to the island before Maria's arrival. Part of their job now is helping connect families.
Two reporters from Univision News followed the track of Hurricane Maria, starting from the southeast where the eye made landfall all the way to the capital. This is what they saw from the road ...
An "extremely dangerous" Category 4 hurricane, Maria made landfall near Yabucoa in southeast Puerto Rico, causing widespread flooding across the U.S. territory of 3.4 million inhabitants. Maria caused rivers to flood all over the island. This video was taken in Guayama, on the south coast.
After a strong earthquake shook Mexico City, thousands of people evacuated their homes. The epicenter was 7.5 miles southeast of Axochiapan, in the state of Morelos.
Had Irma tracked 50 miles further north along Cuba's coast, the results could have been dramatically different, meteorologists say, causing devastation to the densely populated Greater Miami region. Also by tracking up Florida's west coast close to the shoreline deprived Irma of the warm Gulf water that fuels storms. Here is a compilation of the hurricane satellite images shared by NASA on social media.
The program was established in 2012 by President Barack Obama to protect certain undocumented immigrants from deportation.
Laura Zapata está de luto por la muerte de un familiar muy cercano
La primera actriz asegura sentirse sorprendida por la repentina muerte de una persona de su familia a la que quería mucho. Además, volvió a dar declaraciones acerca de todos los problemas que ha tenido con el comité regente de la Asociación Nacional de Actores.
¿Cómo se debe vestir una MILF?
Los Pichy Boys investigan si las madres deben tener un código de vestimenta, solo por el hecho de ser mamá.
Albertano y Ligia derrochan coqueteo, ¿será que se olvidaron de que los estábamos grabando?
El juez y la presentadora digital han estado bromeando toda la temporada y esta vez subieron la temperatura durante una entrevista. Así de cerquita estuvieron frente a nuestros ojos.
Jorge Salinas dedica un romántico mensaje a su esposa Elizabeth Álvarez frente a las cámaras
El actor reapareció ante los medios con una nueva imagen y muy animado a contestar las preguntas de la prensa. Al cuestionarle cómo se lleva con las madres de sus hijos, dejó claro que solo hay una con la cual no tiene una relación cercana.
Noticiero Edición Digital
Noticias Univision Digital Newscast
Encuentra aquí el mejor contenido original y en español sobre el mundo de los autos. Artículos, fotos y videos con lo más reciente de los autos.
Cinco estudiantes heridos durante ataque armado en una escuela de Tamaulipas
Un grupo de hombres armados irrumpió en el plantel escolar y disparó a los jóvenes que se encontraban en el patio.
9,000 nepalíes con TPS enfrentan la deportación a pocos días de saberse la suerte que correrán miles de hondureños
Un documento al que tuvo acceso el diario The Washington Post revela que la secretaria de Seguridad Nacional, Kirstjen Nielsen, le dará a miles de nepalíes afectados por el sismo de 2015 un año de plazo para que salgan del país o serán deportados.
Chivas vs. Toronto FC: Live, TV Channel, Live Stream Concacaf Championes League Final
Final match will be on Wednesday April 25 at 9:30 PM ET at Estadio Akron, in the Concacaf Champions League Final.
Día clave para el futuro deportivo de las Chivas en medio de una tormenta interna
El conjunto del Guadalajara jugará la vuelta de la final de la Liga de Campeones de la Concacaf ante el Toronto en un momento muy delicado entre directivos, cuerpo técnico y jugadores por temas extradeportivos.
Historias de Mundiales: el peor día de la carrera de Zidane como jugador fue en Alemania
El Mundial de 2006 tiene como marca la agresión del volante en plena final, a pocos minutos de ir a penaltis. Momento vergonzoso para el crack.
'Chicharito' Hernández le envió un motivador mensaje a Chivas antes de la revancha contra Toronto
El delantero no se olvida del club de sus amores y habló como aficionado, dirigiéndose directamente a los jugadores y luego a todos los que aman al Guadalajara. Aquí sus palabras.