- Trump allies came out in force in support of embattled Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore on Monday night.
- His Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, made a final push to get voters to the polls.
- The special election has gained international attention because of multiple sexual misconduct allegations against Moore that first surfaced last month.
- The race remained tight in its final hours. Polling averages showed the two candidates within 2 percentage points of each other on Monday.
Allies of President Donald Trump turned out Monday night in support of Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for Senate in Alabama, as voters prepared to head to the polls in a race that has garnered international attention.
The “drain the swamp” rally featured remarks from former White House strategist Steve Bannon and David Clarke, the former Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, sheriff who was a prominent, yet controversial, fixture during Trump’s 2016 election campaign.
The event was both a morale-building exercise for Moore’s staunchest supporters — Alabama voters miffed with the national media coverage of the Senate race — and a group castigation of Moore’s critics, both Republican and Democrat.
“There’s a special place in hell for Republicans who should know better,” Bannon told the crowd, after calling out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Alabama Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, Condoleezza Rice and “little Bobby Corker,” the senator from Tennessee — all of whom have denounced Moore in varying degrees recently.
Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert and Moore’s spokeswoman Janet Porter were also among the nearly two-dozen people speaking in support of Moore on Monday night.
Moore’s wife, Kayla, rebuked national news coverage of the race and headlines that focused on sexual assault and misconduct allegations against Moore. She attacked reports about her husband’s past public statements, in which he was critical of LGBTQ people and Muslims and implied that America was better during the days of slavery.
“We have many friends who are black,” Moore’s wife said, adding, “and one of our attorneys is a Jew.”
The candidate, who is known for his fiery and often theocratic rhetoric, took a more sober tone during an interview with an Alabama conservative talk-radio show earlier Monday. He said of the negative coverage he’s faced, “We’ve seen things happen in this campaign that I can’t believe to this day. … It’s just been hard, a hard campaign.”
At the rally Monday night, he told voters, “If you don’t believe in my character, don’t vote for me.”
Charles Barkley comes out against Moore
At an election-eve rally for Moore’s Democrat opponent Doug Jones, meanwhile, former NBA star Charles Barkley implored voters in his home state to reject Moore.
“I love Alabama, but at some point we’ve got to draw a line in the sand and say, ‘We’re not a bunch of damn idiots,'” Barkley said.
President Barack Obama recorded a robocall for Jones that declared Jones would be the Democratic Party’s “champion for justice.”
Condoleezza Rice, a Republican who was national security adviser and secretary of state under President George W. Bush, gave a statement to AL.com that seemed to criticize Moore without saying his name by urging Alabama voters to “reject bigotry, sexism, and intolerance.”
The race in Alabama remained tight right down to the last hours before voters head to the polls — even as the story gained national and international attention. A RealClearPolitics average of several polls showed Moore leading Jones by just over 2 percentage points, but experts have said the race would be tough to predict before Election Day.