State Rep. John Rogers (D-Birmingham) on Wednesday told Yellowhammer News that he will not run in the 2020 Democratic U.S. Senate primary against Senator Doug Jones (D-AL).
Rogers began considering a potential bid towards the tail-end of the Alabama legislature’s regular session this spring. At that time, he told Yellowhammer News, “I don’t want to run a campaign just to run. I want to run to win.”
He said he needed to raise $500,000 in order to be competitive.
However, after testing the waters for months, Rogers has concluded that he cannot raise sufficient funds, saying Jones’ war chest was too much to overcome in a primary. Rogers previously challenged Jones to a public debate, which Alabama’s junior senator ignored.
The state representative from Jefferson County on Wednesday also commented on the ongoing battle that has pitted Jones and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) against the leadership of the Alabama Democratic Party and the Alabama Democratic Conference (ADC).
Rogers said that he disagreed with the charges of racism against Jones made by the state party’s secretary, Val Bright, who last week penned an open letter saying that Jones and the DNC were targeting “blacks” in their effort to overhaul the party’s structure and leadership.
“Although blacks have been faithful to the Democratic Party and are largely responsible for electing Doug Jones and any white seeking office in this state, once elected on the backs of blacks, the urgency to remove black leadership begins,” Bright stated.
“In other words, as long as we’re working in the fields all is well, but when we move to positions of authority, a challenge begins,” she added. “From slavery through Reconstruction, Jim Crow and the Civil Rights movement, we are constantly being shown how little respect blacks receive for being hard working and loyal.”
Rogers advised that he does not believe Jones to be a racist.
“Because Alabama is a conservative state, and you’ve got to have some conservatives in the legislature (Congress) — I hate to say that, but it is Alabama, and if you’re going to run for a statewide office, you’ve got to be in the middle of the road,” Rogers said. “And Doug knows that. I mean — I don’t like some of the things he does to show his ‘conservatism,’ but if you want to be expecting to win against a Republican, you’ve got to show some conservatism.”
Rogers continued to say Jones is still his friend and has been “for a long time.”
“I don’t think he’s racist, I wouldn’t dare call him a racist,” Rogers concluded.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn