The day of decision in race for U.S. Senate

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Undated (WTVY)-- After months of campaigning, bickering, and sex allegations the ultimate statement on Alabama’s race for U.S. senator will be made today by voters.

Democrat Doug Jones and Republican Roy Moore hope to fill the unexpired term of Jeff Sessions, confirmed early this year as President Trump’s choice for attorney general.

Moore cruised to a first-place finish in the primary before defeating interim Senator Luther Strange in a hotly contested runoff.

While Moore and Strange were battling, Jones won the Democratic nomination without a runoff. Still, most considered him a long shot in the general election.

Then came the Washington Post report of women who claim Moore, as a prosecutor in Etowah County, was sexually inappropriate with them decades ago. Suddenly, Jones chances improved.

Moore was forced to shift his message. Instead of talking about Christian values, sanctity of traditional marriage, and how he stood up for the 10 Commandments, Moore had to fend off allegations he vehemently denies.

The Republican nominee is no stranger to controversy. He twice was removed as Alabama’s chief justice, once for refusing to take down a 10 Commandments monument on public grounds and, most recently, for instructing probate judges in Alabama not to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples.

Jones also has political liabilities. While his successful prosecution of two Ku Klux Klan members accused in the bombing of a Birmingham church that killed four young girls is lauded by many, his pro-choice stance doesn’t sit well in conservative Alabama.

He also has another challenge. Jones, a Democrat, is seeking a seat held by Republicans since the early 1990’s. Among seven Alabama congressional members, only one is a Democrat and no member of the party holds statewide office.

Nevertheless, Jones campaign was vaulted into the national spotlight following the Post report with one of his rallies drawing about 1,000 people. Supporters say they planned for 40 when he visited Dothan last month. Over 100 attended and others turned away due to insufficient space to accommodate them.

Democrats smell victory and have spent millions. Jones and those loyal to him, by nearly a 10-1 margin, outspent Moore on advertising during the final weeks of the campaign. The ad-tracking group Advertising Analytics LLC, estimates $5.6 million was spent on Jones’ television and radio advertisements, compared to about $600,000 by Moore’s team, as of late November.

Polls, though, indicate most Republicans still plan to vote for Moore. High ranking party members, including Governor Kay Ivey, are sticking by him and, after waffling, President Trump endorsed him, convincing the Republican National Committee to restore support it pulled following the sex allegations.

Among those not on the Moore bandwagon, though, is U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL). “I wouldn't vote for Roy Moore. I think the Republican Party can do better,” he told CNN Sunday.

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