Doug Jones has given Alabama Democrats their best chance at winning a Senate race there since 1992 – when Sen. Richard Shelby was elected and, shortly thereafter, switched parties and became a Republican.
Jones made his name as a prosecutor who in the late 1990s and early 2000s successfully led the case against two of the Ku Klux Klan members responsible for a 1963 Birmingham church bombing that killed four African-American girls.
He’s alternated between prosecutorial roles and private practice through his career before launching his Senate campaign this year.
Now Republicans are accusing Jones of taking radical positions on the issues in his race against Republican Roy Moore.
“I can tell you for a fact we do not need somebody who’s going to be bad on crime, bad on borders, bad for the military, bad for the Second Amendment,” President Donald Trump said of Jones last week, without elaborating on his critiques.
Here’s where Jones stands on a few issues that have dominated the Alabama Senate race.
Jones is supportive of abortion rights, a position that could put him at odds with many of Alabama’s evangelical voters. Moore’s campaign has used Jones’ position to accuse him of supporting partial-birth abortions late in women’s pregnancies.
“I fully support a woman’s freedom to choose what happens to her own body. That is an intensely, intensely personal decision that only she, in consultation with her god, her doctor, her partner or family, that’s her choice,” Jones told AL.com this month.
“Having said that, the law for decades has been that late-term procedures are generally restricted except in the case of medical necessity,” he said. “That’s what I support. I don’t see any changes in that. It is a personal decision.”
On his campaign website, he declares that “health care is a right” and praised former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
“I am disturbed about repeated efforts to repeal the bill or weaken it, leaving as many as 32 million more Americans without insurance, driving up rates for others and likely leading to the closure of more rural health care facilities vital in many regions of Alabama. That is a nonstarter,” Jones says on his website.
He has also argued that the GOP’s efforts to repeal Obamacare have made Americans more engaged on the issues. “You’ve seen it in polling, you saw it in Virginia the other night, when the number one thing people voted on was health care. I think that this issue has helped people do what I call a political reset button and start looking at issues and they want to see something done,” Jones told The Economist.
Jones described himself in September as “a Second Amendment guy” but said there are “limitations” and called for expanded background checks in an interview with MSNBC.
“We’ve got limitations on all constitutional amendments in one form or another,” Jones said. “I want to enforce the laws that we have right now. The biggest issue, I think, that’s facing the Second Amendment right now is that we need to make sure we shore up the National Crime Information System, the NCIC system for background checks, to both keep guns out of the hands of criminals, but at the same time, cut down on error so that law-abiding citizens can get those.”
Jones has criticized the Trump administration for withdrawing guidelines for schools on the treatment of transgender students and for banning transgender people from serving in the military.
It’s a vivid difference with Moore, who was ousted from the state Supreme Court for refusing to institute the US Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, who has said that homosexuality should be illegal and regularly attacks transgender people.
“Doug Jones supports equality, unlike Roy Moore, who believes it is perfectly acceptable to discriminate against people, which would destroy businesses and opportunities for the people of this state. Roy Moore’s extreme and controversial views backfired in North Carolina and cost that state and its businesses tens of millions of dollars. That’s why business leaders disagree with Moore’s extreme views, which are outside of the mainstream,” Jones’ campaign said in a statement when attacked by Moore for supporting transgender rights.
Jones said “a tax bill is needed – tax simplification is needed,” but recently criticized the Senate GOP bill while speaking generally in favor of cutting corporate taxes.
“I am troubled by tax breaks for the wealthy, which seem to be in this bill overloaded. I’m troubled by what appears to be ultimately tax increases or no tax cuts to the middle class. I generally try to support cutting corporate taxes to try to get reinvestment back into this country,” Jones said.