Roy Moore’s absence from the campaign trail in the week leading up to Tuesday’s special election is both extremely unusual and likely necessary.
To win their support and turn out the more than 200,000 Republicans who voted for Sen. Luther Strange in the September runoff, Moore needs the race to be about the media and the Democrats—not the allegations that he preyed on teenagers. President Trump stuck to that script at a Friday evening event, while Steve Bannon and Rep. Louie Gohmert were called on to fortify the message during an election eve rally.
Sen. Richard Shelby offered a roadmap for the Republicans who are conflicted about the race. He said during a rare national TV appearance Sunday that “Alabama deserves better” than Moore but he couldn’t vote for a Democrat, so he wrote in a different Republican.
But Moore doesn’t need a unified and motivated base nearly as much as Doug Jones. The Democrat’s campaign spent the final weekend mobilizing African Americans, who account for 26 percent of Alabama’s registered voters.
— Kyle Trygstad