2017 U.S. Senate Race

Jones Brings out Randall Woodfin, Charles Barkley, for Election-Eve Rally

Doug Jones’ rally on the even of the special Senate election. (Source: Sam Prickett)

Dec. 11, 2017 — Doug Jones brought out a collection of famous faces for his final rally in the Alabama Senate race.

The event, held at Old Car Heaven in Birmingham, featured appearances from Orange Is the New Black star Uzo Aduba, former NBA star Charles Barkley and Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin in a final push to energize supporters before Tuesday’s election.

Aduba is not an Alabama native, although her Orange Is the New Black costar Laverne Cox is, but she said she had realized that the issues at stake in the election — education, jobs, affordable healthcare — “impact … everyone in the United States, not just in the state of Alabama.”

“It is abundantly clear that there is only one choice in this election,” she said. “What I know for sure is that Doug Jones will represent the state of Alabama in Washington with honor and integrity.”

Charles Barkley followed Aduba onstage and began his speech by reminding supporters that “tomorrow is a big day … and it’s not just about tomorrow either. It’s about the next few years.”

Barkley, who hails from Leeds, started his speech by commenting on the surreality of the election — particularly the continued involvement of Jones’ Republican opponent, Roy Moore.

“If somebody sent you this (election) as a movie script, you would throw it in the trash,” he said. “I’m serious. You’d say, ‘There’s no way possible this other dude would be leading in any of the polls.’”

“At some point, we’ve got to stop looking like idiots to the nation,” he added. “Listen, I love Alabama, but at some point we’ve got to draw a line and say, ‘We’re not a bunch of damn idiots.’”

Woodfin, who just more than two months ago won his own election to become Birmingham’s 30th mayor, centered his speech on the possibility Jones could pull a similar upset in his own race.

“There is enough energy in the state of Alabama … to turn the vote out for Doug Jones,” he said. “I know what it’s like to climb an uphill battle against people that are telling you you can’t win. There are people that’ll tell you you have no way in the world to win. But let me be the first to tell you that it can be done.”

Woodfin emphasized the importance of turnout in special elections, urging people to get their family and friends out to the polls. “If you’re in this room, I know you’re already motivated to vote,” he said. “My charge to each of you and to myself is to make sure the people in our networks … also vote for him.”

Jones closed out the rally by remarking that the election “is going to be one of the most significant in our state’s history in a long, long time.”

“We’ve got to make sure that at this crossroads in Alabama’s history, we take the right road,” he said. “We’ve had this history in the past … . It’s taken us down a path that has not been productive for this state. It has caused us to lag behind. We’ve lagged behind in industry, we’ve lagged behind in education, we’ve lagged behind in healthcare. It is time that we take a road that’s going to get us on the path of progress.”