Jones (left) and Roy MooreCanada Politics USA 

Alabama Senate race: Trump candidate under spotlight as state votes

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Jones (left) and Roy Moore
The race between Doug Jones (left) and Roy Moore is too close to call

Alabama voters are heading to the polls in a Senate election that could have wider implications for Donald Trump.

Republican candidate Roy Moore, a former Alabama judge who is embroiled in allegations of child sex abuse, has been endorsed by the US president.

Mr Trump’s support is at odds with much of the Republican establishment, who have distanced themselves from the 70-year-old Christian conservative.

The race between Mr Moore and Democrat Doug Jones has been too close to call.

Mr Moore denies claims by several women that he made unwelcome sexual advances, mostly when they were teenagers.

However, the scandal has put a Senate seat in Alabama within reach of Democrats for the first time in more than two decades.

Why is this vote important?

A win for the Democrats could reduce the power of the Republican party, who currently hold just a two-seat Senate majority, to pass legislation ahead of next year’s mid-term Congressional elections.

While it is already difficult to pass legislation in the Senate, losing another seat would be a blow for Mr Trump, as approval must be reached by the majority of voting members.

A win for Mr Moore would be a victory for the president, who has been vocal in his support for the Republican candidate.

Mr Trump’s relationship with fellow Republicans has been at times tense, with some launching attacks on both his character and his presidency.

Mr Trump has previously blamed his own party for legislative failures.

Tuesday’s winner will take the seat held previously by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

In Washington, a Democratic lawmaker has sent a letter to the Senate’s sergeant at arms (chief law enforcement officer) urging that Congress take steps to ensure the safety of teenagers working in the Senate page programme from Mr Moore’s “predatory conduct”.

“I believe my fears are well founded,” wrote Wisconsin congresswoman Gwen Moore, citing the multiple allegations against Mr Moore.

Mr Moore has kept a low profile in recent days but he said in an interview with The Voice of Alabama Politics on Sunday that he had been a victim of “ritual defamation”.

What about Moore’s opponent?

Image copyright Reuters

Image caption

Democratic candidate Doug Jones accuses Roy Moore of hiding

Mr Jones, a 63-year-old prosecutor, has spent the past week rallying African-Americans and held a series of rallies across the state on Sunday.

On Monday in Birmingham, the Democrat said the election was “one of the most significant in our state’s history” and urged voters to “put our decency… before a political party”.

Mr Jones also accused his Republican opponent of hiding.

Former President Barack Obama and ex-Vice-President Joe Biden have recorded automated phone messages for voters in support of Mr Jones.

“This one’s serious,” Mr Obama said in his call. “You can’t sit it out.”

 

Ref: BBC News

 

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