Alabama Supreme Court blocks order to preserve digital voting records

Following an eleventh-hour order informing voting officials in Alabama to keep the digital votes generated in Tuesday’s controversial Senate election, the state’s Supreme Court has issued a stay to block that decision.

The order to preserve the records was issued by the Montgomery County Circuit Court on Monday afternoon — less than 24 hours before voting was set to begin — and the stay that they are able to effectively annul that order was issued late Monday night.

“All counties employing digital ballot scanners in the Dec. 12, 2017 election are hereby ordered to set their voting machines to save all processed images in order to preserve all digital vote images, ” the Montgomery County order stated.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill and Alabama state election administrator Ed Packard are named as defendants in the suit, which is now being brought before the Montgomery County court by four Alabama voters. Initially filed on Thursday of last week, it quoth the state-level election system hacking that the Department of Homeland Security notified 21 countries including Alabama of this September in arguing that the state should hold onto the digital record of votes for at the least six months rather than destroy them.

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As is often the case, country election practices are a bit confusing. As AL.com reports, the state is required to keep the paper ballots that are digitized to tabulate the vote. Priscilla Duncan, the lawyer who represented the four Alabama voters named in the case, argued that while those newspaper votes are maintained for 22 months, “the paper ballots aren’t genuinely what’s counted” and only an unlikely state-wide recount would consult the paper ballots.

According to AL.com, “at 4:32 p.m. Monday, attorneys for Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill and Ed Packard, the nation administrator of elections, filed an ’emergency motion to stay’ that order, which the nation Supreme court awarded minutes after Merrill and Packard’s motion was filed.”

The suit arguing that the records should be saved is not itself an indication of suspicion around the integrity of Alabama’s elections or evidence of any kind of foul play. Still, when it comes to the very uneven election security measures in U.S. elections, more records are never a bad thing.

A full hearing for the case is set for December 21, but the state has a green light to continue destroying its digital voting records until that time.

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Alabama election: Democrats triumph over Roy Moore in major blow to Trump

Doug Jones becomes first Democrat to win any statewide office in Alabama in a decade after Moores campaign for Senate marred by sexual assault claims

The Democrat Doug Jones has beaten his Donald Trump-backed Republican rival Roy Moore in the diehard Republican state of Alabama, setting off a political earthquake likely to shake Washington.

His victory in a special election for a US Senate seat- by a margin of 49. 9 to 48.4 with 100% of precincts reporting- is a major personal jolt to the president and his efforts to pass taxation reform on Capitol Hill.

Jones was able to become the first Democrat in a decade to win any statewide office in Alabama by beating Moore, who had faced multiple allegations of sexual assault during a campaign which uncovered Republican party faultlines.

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Who is Doug Jones?

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Early life

The 63 -year-old grew up in the working-class city of Fairfield, simply west of Birmingham, an region once dominated by the steel industry. His father was a steelworker and he spent hour working in a mill when not in school

Democratic roots and the KKK

Jones got his start in government as an aide to the last Democrat to serve a full term in the Senate from Alabama, the late Howell Heflin.

Years before running for the Senate himself, Jones became known for prosecuting two KKK members for the bombing of Birmingham’s 16 th Street Baptist church in 1963 which killed four black girls.

After his appointment as US attorney in Birmingham in 1997, Jones resulted a team of federal and state attorneys during trials that resulted in the convictions of Thomas Blanton Jr in 2001 and Bobby Frank Cherry in 2002.

Photograph: Marvin Gentry/ X02859

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Moore, who late on Tuesday was refusing to concede the race, had been favored in the deep red state until two women came forward to assert that Moore assaulted them when they were adolescents; a number of another woman said the Alabama Republican had romantically pursued them when they were underage. Moore has denied all the allegations.

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0:50

‘It’s not over’: Roy Moore refuses to concede in Alabama Senate race- video

Alabama has long faced a profound racial divide, which was reflected in the results. According to an exit poll, Jones won 95% of the African-American vote but only 27% of the white vote in the Yellowhammer State. However, widespread African-American turnout on Jones’s behalf overcame Moore’s margins in rural, predominantly white parts of Alabama.

Jones also made significant inroads among college-educated whites. He won well-educated Madison county by a margin of 57-40. A center of the aerospace industry, the district voted for Trump by a margin of 55-38 in 2016.

Alabama voting demographics

‘More in common than what would divide us’

Jones emerged to a euphoric reception just before 10 pm local time.” Folks, I gotta tell you, I think that I have been waiting all my life and now I simply don’t know what the hell to say ,” he said, beginning a 10 -minute speech.” I have always believed that the person or persons of Alabama had more in common than what would divide us .”

The election had never been either about him or Moore, he insisted.” This entire race has been about dignity and respect. This campaign has been about the rule of law. This campaign has been about common courtesy and decency and inducing sure everyone in this state, regardless of what zip code you live in, is going to get a fair shake .”

His speech was met with cheers and applause and chants of” USA! USA !”

Doug
Doug Jones waves to supporters after the results were announced. Photograph: John Bazemore/ AP

The Democratic victory will reduce the Republican majority in the Senate to 51 -4 9 once Jones takes his seat on Capitol Hill. This significantly reduces the margin for error as Republicans attempt to push through a major corporate taxation cut.

They already have one defector in senator Bob Corker, and Jones’s election entails a single additional Republican breaking ranks would sink the legislation .

Moore’s defeat also marks a major personal blow to Trump, who endorsed the Alabama Republican and held a rally on his behalf merely over the state line in Pensacola, Florida. Although most national Republicans rushed to distance themselves from Moore in the aftermath of the allegations, Trump reaffirmed his support through tweets and public statements.

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The Roy Moore file

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Born

Roy Stewart Moore, 11 February 1947, in Gadsden, Alabama, the oldest of five children of a construction worker and housewife.

Best of times

He had a large slab of Vermont granite inscribed with quotes from the Declaration of Independence, “the member states national” anthem and the founding fathers installed in the Alabama supreme court. It was topped off with tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments.

Worst of Times

In Vietnam, Moore insisted his troops salute him on the battlefield. He was named” Captain America” and later remembered sleeping on sandbags to avoid a grenade flung under his cot in retribution.

What he says

” I think it[ America] was great at the time when families were unified. Even though we had slavery, they cared for one another .”

What others say

After refusing to acknowledge same-sex marriage legislation, Human Rights Campaign said:” It is clear that Roy Moore not only believes he is above the law, he believes he is above judicial ethics …”

Photograph: Brynn Anderson/ AP

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Shortly after the findings are called, Trump tweeted his congratulations to Jones 😛 TAGEND

Donald J. Trump (@ realDonaldTrump)

Congratulations to Doug Jones on a hard oppose victory. The write-in votes played a very big factor, but a win is a win. The people of Alabama are great, and the Republican will have another shot at this seat in a very short period of time. It never objective!

December 13, 2017

Early on Wednesday morning, the president tried to claim he had always known Moore would lose, recalling his backing for foe Luther Strange in the Republican primary that had preceded the special election.” The reason I originally endorsed Luther Strange( and his numbers ran up mightily ),” Trump wrote,” is that I said Roy Moore will not be able to win the General Election. I was right! Roy worked hard but the deck was stacked against him !”

Moore’s defeat is a significant blow to the efforts by Steve Bannon and the populist Trump wing of the Republican party to undermine Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell.

Bannon and his allies are planning a series of primary challenges against establishment Republican in 2018. Moore’s defeat significantly reduces their leverage as the joint efforts of Bannon and his rightwing news website, Breitbart, could not elect their preferred nominee in a state that Trump won in a landslide in 2016.

Steven Law, the head of the McConnell-allied Senate Leadership Fund, set the blame squarely on Bannon moments after the race was called.” This is a brutal reminder that candidate quality matters regardless of where you are running ,” Law said.” Not merely did Steve Bannon expense us a critical Senate seat in one of the most Republican states in the country, but he also dragged the president of the United States into his fiasco .”

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Cory Gardner, the head of the National Republican Senate Committee, which categorically refused to back Moore, said:” Tonight’s results are clear: the person or persons of Alabama deemed Roy Moore unfit to serve in the US Senate .”

While national Republican accepted defeat, at Moore’s election night event, presidential candidates and his supporters still held out hope.

‘The evening is not over yet’

Moore’s campaign chairman, Bill Armistead, took the stage to insist that” the evening is not over yet” and cited Alabama’s provision for an automatic recount if result was within half of a percentage point. He also noted optimistically that there were still outstanding military ballots.

Moore then took the stage to say:” When the vote is this close, it’s not over .” He then bemoaned that he had been” painted in an unfavorable and unfaithful light” before recommending attendees to go home and go to sleep.

Roy
Roy Moore supporters react to the loss on election night. Photo: Joe Raedle/ Getty Images

Cal Zastrow, a friend of Moore who had come down from Michigan to volunteer for the campaign, tried to frame research results within a bigger painting.” I was cheering for him and supporting him but Jesus is wonderful whether Roy Moore wins or loses ,” he said.” I’m not distressed. I’m not discouraged. Jesus is wonderful .”

At Jones’ election night party hundreds of supporters, many waving signs, erupted in cheers at a hotel ballroom in Birmingham when, on giant Tv screens, CNN declared the race for the Democrat. There were hugs, smiles, tears and chants of” We want Doug !” The raw feeling was evident.

John Parker, 26, a bartender, said:” I think it’s astounding and unprecedented in Alabama politics, and a response to what we’re considering nationally. This is a direct response to President Trump. Roy Moore is unfit for any chore, let alone[ that of] international civil servants. Alabama tonight voted for America .”

He added:” There is hope and pleasure. Tomorrow’s another day in Alabama .”

Voter breakdown

Caitlin Barringer, 29, who works in healthcare, said:” We eventually have a person who will represent all of Alabama. I can’t believe it’s taken this long for people be recognised that Roy Moore is not what he says he is .”

Looking at the media crews in the ballroom, she added:” I’m thankful everyone from all over the world is here and Alabama has shown we are so much more than closed-minded people .”

Community activist Keith Williams, 43, who is African American, said:” Miracles do happen. I have a message for America: don’t count Alabama out. The progressive motion is going forward .”

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Roy Moores stunning defeat reveals the red line for Trump-style politics | Richard Wolffe

The shock election results assured a Democrat make rare inroads in deep-red Alabama and will hasten the existential question facing the Republican party

There’s no sugar-coating the stunning defeat for Donald Trump and his cronies in Tuesday’s Senate contest.

There’s no accusation of fake news that they are able encompas the tracks of the disastrous outcomes for the president- and for his supposedly populist politics- little more than one year after his own election.

There’s no comeback for his former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, who declared war on the Republican establishment by stumping for a toxic candidate like Roy Moore.

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The Roy Moore file

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Born

Roy Stewart Moore, 11 February 1947, in Gadsden, Alabama, the oldest of five children of a construction worker and housewife.

Best of hours

He had a large slab of Vermont granite inscribed with quotes from the Declaration of Independence, “the member states national” anthem and the founding fathers installed in the Alabama supreme court. It was topped off with tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments.

Worst of Times

In Vietnam, Moore insisted his troops salute him on the battlefield. He was named” Captain America” and later recalled sleeping on sandbags to avoid a grenade flung under his cot in retribution.

What he says

” I think it[ America] was great at the time when families were unified. Even though we had bondage, they cared for each other .”

What others say

After refusing to acknowledge same-sex marriage legislation, Human Rights Campaign said:” It is clear that Roy Moore not only believes he is above the law, he believes he is above judicial ethics …”

Photograph: Brynn Anderson/ AP

This wasn’t a marginal competition in some familiar sway country, a typical bellwether of political trends. We’re talking about Alabama. One of the most Republican states in the union where there’s a long and violent history of repudiating outside influences, and anything that smacks of progressive politics.

If Trumpism has any future, any constituency moving forward, it was necessary to thrive in Alabama. For months we have all endured the endless reporting from Trump Country where the president’s loyalists say their love of the blowhard-in-chief is undiminished.

Instead, Alabama- the nation whose love of segregation gave us some of the greatest flashpoints in the civil right movement- has drawn the reddest of red lines. There are still limits to what voters deem acceptable behaviour, and Roy Moore is on the wrong side of them.

Standing by him are his biggest boosters. Donald Trump has been decided to trash what little remains of his political capital on a man accused of being a sex predator of teenage daughters. The Republican National Committee tarnished its name by supporting Moore’s campaign in its late stages after earlier abandoning him. And then there’s Steve Bannon, who lambasted every Republican for treating Roy Moore like a cancer on the GOP.

For now, Democrat can enjoy the sight of their first senator from Alabama in a quarter of a century. They can enjoy the moral victory of considering Doug Jones, who successfully prosecuted two of the racist murderers behind the 1963 Birmingham church bombing, triumph over a Republican who seemed to hanker after the working day when bondage stained the South every day. Democrats can start recalculating the vote-counts on every legislation now they have narrowed the GOP’s Senate majority to just one.

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1:56 Democrat Doug Jones wins Alabama Senate seat: ‘this race has been about dignity’ – video

” I have always believed that the people of Alabama have more in common than what divides us ,” Jones said in his victory speech.” We have shown the country the style that we can be unified .”

For Democrats, the winning style is pretty clear: running against the demagoguery and divisive politics of Donald Trump.

For Republicans, the lessons are just as clear, but far harder to follow. In the coming weeks and months, Republicans now need to wrestle with something they have merrily dismissed for the last year. Alabama’s results will hasten the existential question facing every GOP member of Congress who faces re-election next year: is it better or worse to break with Donald Trump?

Until Alabama, this seemed like an easy calculation. Trump’s obvious failings, his freakish nature and his abusive conduct are always brushed aside because he seemed to have a lock on his party. Who could stand against Trump except senators who already said they were retiring from politics?

Now the balance has shifted dramatically. Who can afford to stand with Trump when the Democratic voters are so energized they turn out in numbers huge enough to overturn the monumental Republican majority in Alabama?

Quick guide

Gay bans and praise for Putin: the world according to Roy Moore

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Homosexuality should be illegal

In 2005, Moore said:” Homosexual conduct should be illegal .” In an interview broadcasted on C-Span, Moore added:” It is immoral. It is defined by the law as detestable .” During a debate in September 2017, he went out of his style to bemoan the fact that” sodomy[ and] sexual perversion sweep the land “.

September 11 attacks as divine penalty

In a speech in February, Moore appeared to suggest that the terrorist attacks of September 11 were the result of divine retribution against the United States and prophesized in the Book of Isaiah. In comments first reported by CNN, Moore quoted Isaiah 30:12 -1 3, saying:” Because you have hated His word and trust in perverseness and oppression, and say thereon … hence this iniquity will be to you as a violate ready to fall, swell out in a high wall, whose violating cometh abruptly at an instance .” Moore then noted:” Sounds a little bit like the Pentagon, whose transgres came suddenly at an instance, doesn’t it ?” He added:” If you think that’s coincidence, if you go to verse 25:’ There should be up on every high mountain and upon every mound, rivers and rivers of water in the working day of the great carnage when the towers will fall.'”

Praise for Putin

In an interview with the Guardian in August, Moore praised Putin for his views on gay rights.” Perhaps Putin is right. Maybe he’s more akin to me than I know .” The commentaries came as Moore indicated the United States could be described as” the main points of evil in the world” because” we promote a lot of bad things “. Moore specifically named gay matrimony as one of those “bad things”.

‘Reds and ambers’

At a rally earlier in September, Moore talked about” reds and yellows opposing” while discussing racial division in the United States. Moore justified this on Twitter by citing lyrics from the anthem Jesus Loves the Little Children. He wrote” Red, yellow, black and white they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world. This is the Gospel .”

Tracking livestock is communism

In 2006, Moore condemned a proposal for a national ID system for animals as” more identifiable with communism than free enterprise “. The proposal received attention after a cow in Alabama had been diagnosed with mad cow disease. Moore, who was then running for governor, was skeptical that the outbreak was real. Instead, Moore indicated it was a ruse intended to promote the tracking system.

The more delusional Republican will reject Tuesday’s outcomes as the flaw of a disastrously poisonous candidate like Roy Moore.

Who could vote for a senate nominee who was reportedly banned from shopping malls because of his alleged interest in teenage daughters?

What kind of nominee agrees with Vladimir Putin that America is a focus of evil in the world, and who speaks fluent Russian along the way?

But there’s someone on “the member states national” stage who bears an uncanny similarity to the profile of Roy Moore. Person who stands accused of sex predation on young women, who demonizes the media as much as he lauds Vladimir Putin, and who pretends that his critics are subjugating working class voters. That human works out of the Oval Office.

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2:02 ‘Maybe Putin is right’: Roy Moore speaks to the Guardian- video

For the next year, Republican nominees will be hounded at every campaign stop by a simple question: do you approve of Trump’s treatment of women? The party of Moore and Trump is no place for suburban women voters, who have decided the last several election cycles. And girls voted by huge margins for Doug Jones in Alabama.

The scale of the surprise is worth measuring. Donald Trump won Alabama by a monumental 28 points just one year ago. The fact that the race was in any way competitive speaks volumes about the disastrous effects of his presidency and Moore’s candidacy.

Voter breakdown by race and sexuality

Two years earlier, Jeff Sessions- the man whose hapless tenure as attorney general prompted Tuesday’s election- won re-election in Alabama with 97 per cent of the vote. These are the kind of numbers that Saddam Hussein used to enjoy in his periodic elections. The remaining three percent of the free elections went to write-in candidates because no other nominee bothered to file in time to get on the ballot.

Even Mitt Romney won Alabama by 22 points in 2012, despite his reputation as a moderate Republican. As much as black voters rallied to Barack Obama with record turnout, they are continuing merely represent 25% of Alabama’s population.

In Alabama, the past is never dead in large measure because people like Roy Moore have no notion how the past was experienced by his fellow Alabamians. You don’t need a degree in history from the University of Alabama to understand Moore’s worldview.

At a rally in September, he was asked by an African-American voter in the audience where reference is believed America was last great.” I think it was great at the time when families were united- even though we had slavery- they cared for each other ,” he said.” Our households were strong, our country had a direction .”

Quick guide

Gay forbids and praise for Putin: the world according to Roy Moore

Show Hide

Homosexuality should be illegal

In 2005, Moore said:” Homosexual conduct should be illegal .” In an interview televised on C-Span, Moore added:” It is immoral. It is defined by the law as detestable .” During a debate in September 2017, he went out of his route to bemoan the fact that” sodomy[ and] sexual perversion sweep the land “.

September 11 assaults as divine penalty

In a speech in February, Moore appeared to suggest that the terrorist attacks of September 11 were the outcomes of divine retribution against the United States and prophesized in the Book of Isaiah. In commentaries first reported by CNN, Moore quoted Isaiah 30:12 -1 3, saying:” Because you have hated His word and trust in perverseness and oppression, and say thereon … hence this iniquity will be to you as a breach ready to fall, swell out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instance .” Moore then noted:” Sounds a little bit like the Pentagon, whose breach came suddenly at an instance, doesn’t it ?” He added:” If you think that’s coincidence, if you go to verse 25:’ There should be up on every high mountain and upon every mound, rivers and rivers of water in the working day of the great massacre when the towers will fall.'”

Praise for Putin

In an interview with the Guardian in August, Moore praised Putin for his views on homosexual rights.” Maybe Putin is right. Perhaps he’s more akin to me than I know .” The comments came after Moore indicated the United States could be described as” the main points of evil in the world” because” we promote a lot of bad things “. Moore specifically named gay marriage as one of those “bad things”.

‘Reds and ambers’

At a rally earlier in September, Moore “was talkin about a”” reds and yellows fighting” while discussing racial division in the United States. Moore justified this on Twitter by quoting lyrics from the anthem Jesus Loves the Little Children. He wrote” Red, yellow, black and white they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world. This is the Gospel .”

Tracking livestock is communism

In 2006, Moore condemned a proposal for a national ID system for animals as” more identifiable with communism than free enterprise “. The proposal received attention after a cow in Alabama had been diagnosed with mad cow disease. Moore, who was then operating for governor, was skeptical that the outbreak was real. Instead, Moore indicated it was a ruse intended to promote the tracking system.

In case you were still confounded, Moore is the kind of man who appeared on conspiracy wingnut radio in 2011 to lament the constitution’s amendments that abolished slavery, and gave the vote of both women and African-Americans.

His reward for this kind of racism was to energize the very voters he disdained. The African-American voters of Alabama have delivered a crushing jolt to Trump-style politics.

It’s only reasonable to expect Latino voters to deliver the same blow to GOP candidates who support their president’s demonization of immigrants. It’s only normal to expect females to disdain Republican candidates who refuse to condemn Trump’s sexual harassment.

And it’s only realistic to expect Donald Trump will learn nothing from his dishonour in Alabama. He will continue to rage against Hillary Clinton, the media, and athletes who protest for equal justice. He will continue to obsess about Twitter and cable television instead of discovering a new political path.

The real exam of the next year lies not with the president, but with his party. Merely one of them has the capacity to change.

This article was amended on 13 December 2017 to note that the Republicans’ majority in the Senate is one , not two, as we previously said. When Jones is sworn in, Republicans will control 51 of the Senate’s 100 seats.

Roy Moore rival: ‘Men who hurt little girls should go to jail, not the Senate’

Shifting tactics in Alabama Senate race, Democrat Doug Jones hammers Roy Moore over allegations of sexual misconduct involving teenagers

Doug Jones, the Democratic nominee in the Alabama Senate election, on Tuesday launched his most sustained attack yet on his Republican challenger, Roy Moore.

In a speech in Birmingham a week before the vote, Jones hammered Moore, who has faced allegations of sexual misconduct involving teenaged girls.

” Men who hurt little girls should go to jail , not the US Senate ,” Jones said.

Several hours after Jones’s speech, Republican senator Jeff Flake made a $100 gift to the Democrat’s campaign. Flake, a conservative “Never Trump” Republican from Arizona, wrote” country over party” on the check.

The Alabama race has been roiled by accusations from women who say Moore behaved inappropriately with them when they were teens and he was a prosecutor in his 30 s.

Two females have claimed Moore sexually assaulted them. Others have said he dated or tried to date them. The Republican nominee has denied all the allegations and pointed to a conspiracy involving” lesbians, lesbians, bisexuals and socialists “.

Attacking Moore, Jones contrasted the firebrand conservative judge to the state’s former governor, Robert Bentley, who resigned amid a sexuality scandal in April.

” We didn’t look away with Robert Bentley when his conduct involved consenting adults and we cannot look away now that it involves children ,” Jones said.

Moore has twice been forced to step down as chief justice of the Alabama supreme court, for eluding federal court orders. Jones set up his Republican opponent as a figure of mockery.

” Roy Moore has never, ever served our nation with honor ,” he said.” He was already an shame before nine courageous females chose to share their tales .”

He also attacked Moore for his position at a not-for-profit organization called the Foundation for Moral Law , which paid the Republican about$ 1m over a five-year period.

” I have never lived off of gifts from a so-called charitable foundation ,” Jones said.

The Democrat even taunted Moore for pulling a small pistol on stage at a campaign rally in September.” When you find me with a handgun, I’ll be climbing in and out of a deer blind ,” he said,” not prancing around on a stage in a cowboy suit .”

The speech marked a shift in tactics from Jones. From being cautious in blaming Moore over the accusations of sexual misconduct, his campaign are growing increasingly vocal and aggressive.

The speech came one day after Donald Trump formally endorsed Moore and the Republican National Committee, which had receded subsistence, renewed the active involvement in the race.

At the White House on Tuesday, Trump talked to reporters about the race.” We don’t want to have a liberal Democrat in Alabama ,” he said.” We want to have the things we represent .”

Press secretary Sarah Sanders also defended the endorsement, saying Trump
” would rather have a person that supports his agenda versus someone who opposes his agenda every step of the style, and until the rest of that process plays out, you have a selection between two someones, and the president’s chosen to support Moore “.

She added:” The accusations are concerning and, if true, he should step aside, but we don’t have a way to validate that and that’s something for the people of Alabama to decide .”

CNN journalist Jim Acosta challenged Sanders , mention:” This is somebody who’s been accused of child abuse, of molesting children. How can that vote in the Senate be that important that you would take a gamble on somebody who’s been accused of molesting children, of harming somebody who is under age? Has he wrestled with that question?

The press secretary answered:” As I’ve said, we find the allegations very troubling and again this is up to the people of Alabama to construct that decision. I’m not a voter in Alabama; I can’t induce that decision .”

According to the realclearpolitics.com polling average, Moore has a 1.5 -point lead.

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Opinions clash in Roy Moore’s home town: ‘There’s a lot of rumors in small-town Alabama’

David Smith visits Gadsden to hear locals opinions on the misconduct accusations, and finds advocates, waverers and critics who loathed Moore from the start

” I won’t bite ,” Tiffany Jones, an African American woman, joked to Richard Helms, a white man and Donald Trump advocate, as he hesitantly sat down beside her at a bus stop.” Even though we have different opinions, we can still sit and talk to each other .”

It was Thursday afternoon in Gadsden, the Alabama hometown of US Senate candidate Roy Moore. Jones, 38, a social work student, is vehemently opposed to the maverick Republican and observes the multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against him compelling. Helms, a 62 -year-old pipe fitter, takes the opposite view.

” I believe the women ,” Jones said.” Do I believe anything is going to be done about it? No, because he’s white and prejudiced and they want to keep it the same. That’s how it is in Alabama .”

Helms, however, intends to vote for Moore.” They’re trying to drum up some garbage to discredit him ,” he contended over a cigarette.” There might have been some sort of incident- altogether innocent, human, man and woman- and people get out there and exaggerated and blew it out of all proportion .”

The disagreement is typical of Gadsden, an understated, churchgoing city of 36,000 people on the Coosa river where the grapevine has been buzzing of late. Interviews by the Guardian with 20 residents on Thursday uncovered a wide spectrum of views, from diehards who stand by Moore to Republicans who are wavering because of the scandal to critics who loathed his firebrand populism from the start.

Behind Jones and Helms’s seat was the modest law office of Leroy Cobb, who was wearing a long and thick white beard, a tie-in patterned with the Confederate battle flag and a baseball cap with a picture of Confederate general “Stonewall” Jackson and the words” southern heritage “. Breaking off from a client session, Cobb, 69, insisted that he could not contemplate voting for Doug Jones- bid to become the first Democrat elected to the Senate from Alabama in a quarter-century- over Moore on 12 December.

Tiffany
Tiffany Jones and Richard Helms at a bus stop in Gadsden. Photo: David Smith for the Guardian

” On the one side you’ve got a human who believes in using taxpayer money to murder “childrens and” dedicate sodomites equal rights ,” he said.” On the other you’ve got a man who doesn’t believe in those things. I’m a Christian and my Bible doesn’t teach those .”

Dismissing the allegations against Moore, he added:” Forty years ago? They never told anybody or nobody believed them? What does that tell you about what kind of women they are? If it was my daughter, I would have killed whoever did it. I don’t believe them .”

The candidate is being held up to unfair scrutiny, Cobb insisted, quoting rightwing conspiracy theories.” No reporter ever went and looked at the background of Barack Obama .”

Cobb was not alone in rallying to the defence of 70 -year-old Moore, whose campaign on Thursday hit back at his accusers, declaring” let the battle begin “. Waiting outside the Gadsden Career Center, Christopher Brand, 38, said:” I believe it’s just stuff in the paper and I think it will go away. I don’t know if they’re lying but some people try to seek publicity these days, get their name in the paper. Some do it for money .”

Brand, who voted for Trump in the presidential election, admitted that he heard the rumours about Moore before they became public. But he said:” There’s a lot of gossips in little town in Alabama. I only believe what I know to be fact .”

Others were more willing to theorize. A 67 -year-old man, who gave his name merely as Al for dread of reprisals from his employer, said he believed there would be more accusations to come against Moore.

” I’d be very surprised if there weren’t ,” Al said.” He has a history that goes back a long ways. I know the girl Leigh Corfman[ who told the Washington Post that Moore sexually abused her when she was 14] and about 12 years ago she told me the tale. She is absolutely not lying. I know he molested her when she was very young .”

Quick Guide

Gay prohibits and kudo for Putin: the world according to Roy Moore

Show Hide

Homosexuality should be illegal

In 2005, Moore said:” Homosexual conduct should be illegal .” In an interview televised on C-Span, Moore added:” It is immoral. It is defined by the law as detestable .” During a debate in September 2017, he went out of his route to bemoan the fact that” sodomy[ and] sexual perversion sweep the land “.

September 11 attacks as divine punishment

In a speech in February, Moore appeared to suggest that the terrorist attacks of September 11 were the result of divine retribution against the United States and prophesized in the Book of Isaiah. In commentaries first reported by CNN, Moore quoted Isaiah 30:12 -1 3, saying:” Because you have despised His word and trust in perverseness and oppression, and say thereon … hence this iniquity will be to you as a breach ready to fall, swell out in a high wall, whose transgressing cometh suddenly at an instance .” Moore then noted:” Sounds a little bit like the Pentagon, whose transgres came abruptly at an instance, doesn’t it ?” He added:” If you think that’s coincidence, if you go to verse 25:’ There should be up on every high mountain and upon every mound, rivers and streams of water in the working day of the great carnage when the towers will fall.'”

Praise for Putin

In an interview with the Guardian in August, Moore praised Putin for his views on lesbian rights.” Perhaps Putin is right. Maybe he’s more akin to me than I know .” The commentaries came as Moore suggested the United States could be described as” the focus of evil in the world” because” we promote a lot of bad things “. Moore specifically named lesbian wedding as one of those “bad things”.

‘Reds and yellows ‘

At a rally earlier in September, Moore “was talkin about a”” reds and yellows opposing” while discussing racial division in the United States. Moore justified this on Twitter by quoting lyrics from the anthem Jesus Loves the Little Children. He wrote” Red, yellow, black and white they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world. This is the Gospel .”

Tracking livestock is communism

In 2006, Moore denounced a proposal for a national ID system for animals as” more identifiable with communism than free enterprise “. The proposal received attention after a cow in Alabama had been diagnosed with mad cow illnes. Moore, who was then operating for governor, was skeptical that the outbreak was real. Instead, Moore suggested it was a ruse intended to promote the tracking system.

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Al also backed reports that Moore sought daughters at the Gadsden shopping mall.” He always wore the same tan camel-hair coat. There was a store called Pizitz and he would always hang around the lingerie section; they were the first ones to hurl him out. Then he would hang around outside the Record Bar and hit on young girls there. He was always alone; never with another adult. The mall hurled him out.

” Then he decided he would thump the Bible and these people believed him and he became some sort of cult figure. But he’s a shady character, a really strange guy. There’s no way I would vote for him; I never have. I don’t see him winning, actually. If you look at middle-class, better educated areas, he never gets those elections .”

Chad Gowens, a medical assistant who served in the navy, said:” Growing up in this town, most people know Roy Moore and the type of person he was. At school you heard the narratives. It was a hush-hush because he was assistant DA[ district attorney ].”

Gadsden, Alabama

Gowens, 33, always suspected that a scandal would burst into the open sooner or later.” I figured it would be that they discovered him on Grindr or something. Anyone who’s preaching that hard is normally got skeletons in their cupboard .”

Henry Joseph, 80, a retired building contractor, was sitting at the bar at the Blackstone Pub and Eatery on Broad Street, said he was a Republican but was willing to vote Democrat next month.” I’ve turned ,” he said.” Doug Jones did very well in Birmingham when he was a prosecutor .”

As for Moore, Joseph was adamant.” I think the man’s in love with himself. His ego’s all the more important than Trump’s and he probably misses himself when he goes to sleep at night .” But he added:” I suppose part of the allegations are presumptively right and a lot are fabricated. I can’t go back 30 years and tell you where I was on a devoted day .”

Lonnie Dorcey, 42, a business proprietor in the hospice industry, also dismissed the accusations.” He’s known to all the members of the country and nothing like this has come out until four weeks before the election. There were lots of opportunities over the last 30 years. It’s a small enough town, a small enough community. Everyone knows everything about everyone. You just can’t maintain a secret like for 30 years: there have been bitter election opposes and it would have come out .”

Steve Beene, 68, relaxing on a bench, said:” I believe Roy Moore could shoot somebody here and still get the votes. People are not as informed as they used to be .”

Gadsden is the county seat of Etowah County, which in the past has voted for Democrats John F Kennedy, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton( twice ), but had now been been staunchly Republican, strongly backing Trump in last year’s presidential election.

It fits the profile of some of Trump’s strongholds. Gadsden’s main employers were textile mills, a steel mill that shut down in about 2000 and a tyre-manufacturing plant that virtually ran the same style. The main boulevard, Broad Street, is lined with bars and restaurants, insurance and investment companies and shops selling antiques, comics and dolls, as well as an art museum and dance conservatory, but little traffic and few household name chains. Within walking distance are several advance cash and payday loan outlets.

Greg Bailey, co-managing editor of the Gadsden Hour, a 150 -year-old daily newspaper with a circulation of 10, 000, said:” It’s gone from a smokestack city to a city looking for an identity. There are people saying,’ When are those smokestack days coming back ?’ They’re not coming back. We’re still in flux .”

Beverly
Beverly Young Nelson at a press conference in Manhattan where she has accused Roy Moore of sexually abusing her when she was 16. Photograph: Spencer Platt/ Getty Images

The paper has been inundated with calls from around the country since the Moore scandal erupted. Bailey believes he still has a chance of winning the Senate race.” It would not surprise me ,” he said.” His core base, the conservative evangelical Christians, is very loyal. This is a group that feels put upon by the socioeconomic changes they see around them and they’re desperate for a champ and they’re not easily going to give their champion up .”

The journalist added:” I have some people in my social media who are absolutely doubling down and some who are vacillating. If he sticks it out, I can’t tell what’s going to happen on December 12.”

But the waverers are much in evidence, even among unrepentant Trump voters. After all, the president himself- who won Alabama by 28 percentage points- has hardly been enthusiastic about Moore’s candidacy, first endorsing his challenger Luther Strange in the Republican primary, then suggesting that Moore should step aside if the allegations prove true, though he stopped short of demanding his immediate withdrawal.

Preparing to order lunch at Cafe 5, Rick Green, 69, said he backed Trump strongly but was undecided on how to vote in the Senate race.” I need more information about some things ,” he said.” These allegations seem to be getting stronger and stronger every day but I want to see proof. You’re supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. I think the election’s going to be awful close .”

A military special operations veteran of 30 years who served in Vietnam and Iraq, Green criticised congressional Republicans for trenching Moore.” You can’t seem these days to get the Republicans to stand together on anything. I’m just entirely disgusted. They can’t get their act together. They’re constantly squabbling when I want a wall construct, I want taxation reform .”

A poll released on Wednesday by the Senate Republicans’ campaign arm demonstrated Jones constructing a once unthinkable 12 -point lead since the accusations became public. Another Trump voter, 29 -year-old Jessica Jones, owned of the Sew Much Grace boutique store, said:” I lean more towards Republican in my voting. We share the same values and notions, but I cannot in good conscience vote for Roy Moore .”

Not everyone is gripped by the tournament, however. Back at the bus stop, Betty Way, 60, who works in an adjacent office for a trucks and trailer company, said:” I don’t even know what the allegations are. I don’t watch TV. I live in the country and there’s better things to do than look at politics.

” If you ask me how the deer’s running or how’s the rabbit’s hopping, I could tell you, but when you get into politics, I don’t have a position .”

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Kim Jong-un, the NFL and ‘screaming at senators’: Donald Trump’s Strange night in Alabama

President heads to Alabama to rally support for incumbent senator Luther Strange who is facing a runoff election on Tuesday

Donald Trump devoted one of his signature stream of consciousness speeches in Hunstville on Friday night as he tried to get out the vote for embattled Alabama Republican senator Luther Strange.

During an address inside the Wernher Von Braun Center that lasted an hour and 20 minutes, the president called North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un “Little Rocket Man”, said NFL owners should cut players who kneel for the national anthem and returned to familiar targets like John McCain and Hillary Clinton.

Strange is facing a runoff election on Tuesday for the GOP nomination to hold the seat he was appointed to in February. The former state attorney general was handed the seat after former senator Jeff Sessions was appointed us attorney general by Trump. Strange is currently trailing in the polls against Roy Moore, an ardent social conservative who has twice been removed as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.

The race has become a top priority for Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and a superPAC affiliated with him will expend over$ 9m on Strange’s behalf. The Alabama senator is seen as dependable vote for Republican priorities while Moore has mused about constructing” lesbian conduct” illegal and suggested that the terrorist attacks of 11 September may have been divine retribution for the United States turning away from God.

The campaign has largely focused on McConnell. Moore has attacked the Senate majority leader as a being of the “swamp” that Trump wishes to drain while Strange has tried to distance himself from the Kentucky Republican. Strange went as far as to assert in his brief introductory remarks on Friday night that Trump was backing him so that he could have the votes in the Senate to” stand up to Mitch McConnell .” The President later asserted that Strange “didn’t know” the Senate majority leader.

Trump repeatedly praised Strange and often calling the 6′ 9ft senator” Big Luther .” However, he did note that Moore, who has been backed by a number of prominent conservatives including former Trump aide Steve Bannon, was ” a good man” and that he would campaign for him if the former chief justice won on Tuesday.

Instead of direct criticism, Trump simply claimed Moore would a face a difficult general election in deep red Alabama. He said Moore” has a very good chance of not winning the legislative elections .” Trump also dwelled on the political danger he was taking backing Strange, insisting that the media would attack him if the Alabama Republican lost.

Senator
Senator Strange prepares to introduce the President Trump during the rally in Huntsville. Photo: Marvin Gentry/ Reuters

In between his kudo of Strange, Trump touched on a smorgasbord of topics. He renewed his criticism of Kim Jong Un, whom he called both “Rocket Man” and “Little Rocket Man” and warning of the risk posed by North Korea’s nuclear program and its recent threats to exam a hydrogen bomb.” Now he’s talking about a massive weapon exploding over the Pacific Ocean, which causes tragedy. Where the plume goes, so runs cancer, so runs tremendous problems .” However, Trump confidently said ” I’m going to handle it .”

Hours after John McCain torpedoed Republican hopes to repeal and replace Obamacare, Trump carried his disappointment. He said McCain’s opposition was ” totally unexpected and terrible .” He also chastised the Arizona Republican for what he saw as hypocrisy.” Repeal and replace, John McCain if you look at his last campaign it’s all about repeal and replace and that’s fine, we still have a good chance[ of repealing and replacing Obamacare .” He described his attempts to court senators on health care, saying ” I’m on the phone screaming at people all day long for weeks .”

Trump also returned to some of his favourite topics. He talked at length about the wall he hopes to build on the Mexican border, insisting it needed to be see-through. Trump said this was because drug dealers are currently use catapults to send 100 pound bags of drugs over the existing concrete wall and they are landing on people’s heads in the United States. He also answered the familiar cheers of” lock her up” directed at Hillary Clinton by telling the crowd” you gotta speak to Jeff Sessions about that .”

The president also dwelledon NFL players who take a knee during the course of its National Anthem in peaceful protest. He asked the crowd” Wouldn’t you love one of the NFL owneds when someone disrespects our flag,’ get that son of a bitch off the field right now .'” He told attendees” if you see it, leave the stadium, I guarantee things will stop .”

Since 2016, a number of African American NFL players have taken a knee during the course of its National Anthem. It was spurred by former San Francisco 49 ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick who was the first to do so in protest what he saw as persecution of people of color. Several other players have since followed suit and it has triggered national controversy.

Trump’s visit to Alabama comes merely four days before the primary runoff and only hours after Ben Carson, a member of Trump’s cabinet, issued a quasi-endorsement of Moore. In a statement released by Moore’s campaign, Trump’s secretary of housing and urban planning said ” Judge Moore is a fine human of proven character and integrity, who I have come to respect over the years .” Carson did not explicitly endorse Moore though.

Vice president Mike Pence, who will hold a rally for Strange in Birmingham, will follow Trump in Alabama on Monday. Moore is scheduled to hold an electoral eve rally with Duck Dynasty starring Phil Robertson.

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Alabama immigration: crops rot as workers vanish to avoid crackdown

The day before harsh new laws came into effect, Brian Cash had 65 Hispanic men picking tomatoes. Now he has none

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