Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook) believes he has a very strong chance of being re-elected to the United States Senate in 2020, asserting that Alabamians know that he has “got their back.”
In a wide-ranging interview with Alabama Media Group’s Reckon podcast, which is best known for its work on collegiate student government elections, Jones discussed his infamous vote against Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation and how he would rate President Donald Trump’s time in office so far, among many other interesting topics.
In the first article examining Jones’ interview, Yellowhammer News looks at his comments on his election victory against Roy Moore and his impending re-election battle in 2020.
To start the interview, host John Hammontree asked Jones if he was surprised at the time of his 2017 special election victory.
“[W]e had a path to win and it really didn’t matter who the [Republican] nominee would be,” Jones responded.
The junior senator from Alabama actually thought he would win by a bigger margin.
“It was actually a little closer than we ended up thinking it might be, but that’s just the nature of politics these days,” Jones said.
When asked if he could win in 2020, given the results of the non-special election this November, Jones expressed his utmost confidence in his re-election chances.
“I don’t think there’s any question about it,” Jones asserted. “If you just look at the things we’re doing around the state, we’re taking our state by storm in the sense that we have got everybody’s back.”
He explained that over the course of just two days this week, he has been everywhere from Mobile all the way up to Cherokee County talking about trade issues.
“So, we’re looking at a lot of different things, and I think people understand that. Because at the end of the day, at the end of the day, people are going to vote the way they’re going to vote for president, but at the same time, they also want to make sure they have a senator who’s got their back,” Jones outlined.
Putting aside hot-button issues that Jones finds himself in the minority on in Alabama, from the Kavanaugh confirmation and late-term abortion to Trump himself, Jones says he represents the people of his state.
The senator said, “I think regardless of where people stand politically, the one thing they’re going to know about me in 2020 is that I’ve got their back. They may not agree with me on every issue, that’ll never happen – my wife doesn’t even agree with me on every issue that I vote on. But the fact of the matter is they’re going to understand and know that I’ve got their back, and I think that that’s really important.”
Hammontree pushed back a bit, pointing out that over 60 percent of Alabama voters voted straight ticket in the midterm elections and that Trump is a big draw for conservative turnout.
However, Jones claimed it is “really simple” to get Alabamians who vote for Trump and Republicans, in general, to cross over and vote for him.
“[Y]ou go and you talk to them,” Jones explained. “You have the kind of dialogues that you do. We will, we’re going to be in a better position because, number one, I believe we’ll have a better party infrastructure in two years.”
Jones also intimated that he is already campaigning through his official duties.
“[N]umber two, I’ve got the ability to move around the state now. Most of the candidates that we’ve seen didn’t have the money, they didn’t have the ability to go out as early as we did. I will be much more of a known commodity than our statewide candidates were this time, when we had some great Democratic candidates this time, they just could not get out there as much and they didn’t have the funds. We will have the money, we will be able to raise the money,” Jones outlined.
He then added that he has “never quit campaigning” after his special election victory.
“[A]lso, my Senate duties take me to all four corners of the state of Alabama and people see us and they will be able to talk to us and touch us and understand who I am and what I’m trying to do for the state,” Jones advised.
Jones then claimed that the higher turnout in a presidential year will actually help him, as those “extra folks” will be more likely to split their tickets.
It should be noted that in 2016, Trump beat Hillary Clinton 62.9 percent to 34.6 percent, with a 588,841 vote margin of victory. In his 2017 special election, Jones only received 671,151 total votes.
In comparison to Trump’s victory in 2016, that same election Senator Richard Shelby (R-Tuscaloosa) garnered 64.2 percent of the vote and won by a margin of 585,642 votes.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn