Tag: Doug Jones

Alabama has a swath of elections coming up this year, and there will be a much stronger Democratic presence on the ballot than there has been in recent statewide elections. Do you think Alabama’s moving toward being a two-party state? Are Democrats a viable party statewide?

Jones: I think you’re looking at the viability of Democrats. The viability of Democrats is not dependent on a candidate. It’s dependent on the issues and how they present those issues to the people. I’ve always believed Democrats can be viable. I’ve always believed Republicans, even when Democrats dominated the state, could have been viable with the right message. We flipped (dominant parties) too quick, and we never became a two-party state.
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You just touched on some issues — immigration and guns — that are very hot-button issues for Alabama voters. For those issues, it seems that you have to balance between the more liberal parts of your voter base and the conservative majority of the state.

They’re voters, for sure. But I’ve told people in my campaign, “Don’t expect me to pass a litmus test for one side or the other.” I continue to get asked, “Are you liberal, conservative, moderate, progressive, what?” And I say, “Don’t label me! I’m Doug, and I’m going to vote the way I feel. I’m certainly not going to pass the far left’s litmus test any more than I’m going to pass the far right’s litmus tests. Read more.

The Common Sense Coalition is sort of an anomaly. It’s a bipartisan, centrist group of senators operating in the middle of a highly polarized political climate. How viable of a political philosophy is centrism in a divided 2018?

Jones: I think if you see what’s happened in the last six weeks, since I took office … . You’re always going to have divisions, but let’s just look at the budget, for instance. Yeah, the government shut down for three days. But at the end of the day, you saw a bipartisan budget resolution that’s now going to be put in an omnibus bill that’s going to fund the government for the next two years — this year and next year. That is unheard of in the modern era, in the last few years. Read more.

How is your relationship with the president? You met with him and Senator Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, at the White House last month.

Jones: He was very nice. He called me after the election. His daughter called me after the election. After we voted to reopen the government, he called me and Senator Manchin to come over and we had a wonderful chat. I was probably in the Oval Office for about 45 minutes, just talking. It wasn’t a negotiation or anything like that. It was just a talk. “This is where I think we need to go, this is what I think I need to do.” Read more.

Staking Out Common Ground: A Q&A With Sen. Doug Jones

It’s been almost two months since Doug Jones took office as Alabama’s first Democratic U.S. senator in more than 20 years, and the international spotlight that accompanied his surprising win has faded somewhat.

Jones’ December upset against far-right candidate Roy Moore, who had been the favorite to win before allegations of sexual misconduct derailed his campaign, was seen by many as a bellwether of America’s political future, both in 2018 and in 2020.

“If a Democrat can win in Alabama,” CNN’s Chris Cillizza said after Jones’ victory, “a Democrat can win just about anywhere in the country.”

Now, the novelty of his victory has worn off, and with it Jones has shifted from a political symbol to a centrist lawmaker. As he promised during his campaign, he doesn’t follow the party line. Instead, he’s aligned himself with a bipartisan group of moderate senators, the Common Sense Coalition, which some commentators have credited with ending last month’s government shutdown. A less successful effort by the coalition, on which Jones worked, was a bipartisan immigration bill that failed earlier this month.

But Jones remains optimistic that “common ground” — a favorite phrase of his — can be found on that issue and others. He believes agreements can be made even on hot-button issues such as gun laws, in the wake of Feb. 14’s Parkland, Florida, shooting.

“If we continue to have dialogues, not monologues, and continue to find common ground,” he said at a rally on Sunday, “we can help empower the kids of Parkland, Florida, to lead the next tipping point.”

Jones, who has been visiting Alabama during the congressional break, spoke with BirminghamWatch about his first weeks as a senator, the viability of centrism in a polarized political landscape, and Alabama’s possible future as a two-party state.

BirminghamWatch: Because your election received so much nationwide attention, when you entered the Senate last month, you were already one of its most famous members. How has that dynamic played out? How have you been received by your fellow senators?

Doug Jones: I’ve been received very well. It’s been very nice. Everybody has been very cordial, very helpful, on both sides of the aisle. … Obviously people in the media, they see me as kind of like the unicorn up there, the Democrat from Alabama. (We) do exist! But it’s been great. We tried to (be) low-key and not do too much. I think we played it really good, to try to get my feet wet, let me find my voice, get to know some people. But my Democratic and Republican colleagues have just been great. That’s why I enjoyed working on this bipartisan bill (with the) Common Sense Coalition. I got to know some folks, and it’s been very, very good. Read more.

Almost $50 Million Spent in Alabama’s U.S. Special Senate Election

Candidates and independent committees raised more than $49 million last year for Alabama’s U.S. Senate special election, won by Democrat Doug Jones.

Financial reports posted this week by the Federal Election Commission show Jones with $22.05 million in contributions to his campaign during 2017, compared to $6.15 million for Republican Roy Moore. Those reports include money raised by Jones for the Democratic primary in August and the general election on Dec. 5, and by Moore for the Republican primary, GOP runoff and general election.

In addition, independent committees, known as Super PACs, reported spending $2.37 million in support of Jones and $1.24 million in opposition to him. Super PACs spent $158,464 in support of Moore and $5.19 million in efforts to defeat him. Read more.

Doug Jones Sworn-In to U.S. Senate, Becomes First Alabama Democrat in the Senate Since ’97

WASHINGTON – Doug Jones took the oath of office as Alabama’s first Democratic U.S. senator in a quarter-century Wednesday, narrowing the Republican majority in the Senate to 51-49.

“I am humbled and honored to stand here today, chosen by the people of Alabama to represent our state in this historic institution,” Jones said. “I will work every day to make sure I hear their voices and that their voices are heard in Washington. It is time to come together and rebuild the trust we need to find common ground and expand opportunity for all.”

Jones is widely seen as a Democrat who will challenge President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans in their efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, fight increases in the minimum wage and oppose abortion rights.
With Jones in the Senate, GOP success in repealing Obamacare becomes much less likely, and if just two Republicans vote with Democrats, Trump nominees or budget measures would be defeated. Read more.

Super PACs Wield Millions to Elect and to Defeat Senate Candidates

Independent committees aligned with Republicans and Democrats spent almost $7 million this year on television advertisements and other efforts to defeat Roy Moore in his bid to become Alabama’s junior U.S. senator.

Democrat Doug Jones, who defeated Moore, was the target of almost $2.8 million in spending from such groups, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

In all, records show the Super PACs spent almost $20 million working for and against particular candidates. That’s in addition to the millions candidates raised and spent on their own campaigns. Read more.