Incumbent Sen. Doug Jones is focusing on proving his bipartisan bona fides less than a week before the end of an election cycle in which his opponent has labeled him as a liberal.
Despite voting to remove President Donald J. Trump from office, the Mountain Brook Democrat said he’s voted with the commander-in-chief at a higher percentage of the time than more liberal colleagues, and he has sponsored or cosponsored 21 bills Trump has signed into law.
“I’m very proud of that,” Jones said in a phone interview.
Alabamians and political operatives who say Jones is too liberal for the state haven’t looked at his record, he said. While those looking to unseat Jones might point to the record of other senators and Democrats, he touted an award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for his “pro-business” voting record. It was given to only two senators.
“It was a pro-business award,” he said. “I’m very proud of it.”
As he did in 2017, Jones said he wants the 2020 campaign to focus on “kitchen table issues” like health care and jobs.
Jones said he believes Alabamians are concerned about what will happen to coverage for pre-existing conditions if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is overturned in a possible upcoming challenge. He also believes voters will focus on the jobs he’s helped to create for the state through his seat on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“I’ve been there for veterans and those who currently serve in the military,” he said. “I have helped to make sure everyone in Alabama has been taken care of.”
Talks on a new stimulus bill have restarted between House leadership and the administration, but the chance of a new deal before the election seems slim. Jones acknowledged this, but put the blame squarely on the shoulders of Senate leadership.
“The House and the administration are a lot closer to a deal,” he said. “The big problem is [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell. He doesn’t want to have any discussions before the election.”
Jones called the Senate’s “skinny” stimulus bill “political posturing” and said it picks “winners and losers.” He said it doesn’t provide enough money for the Payroll Protection Program, doesn’t provide enough for unemployment compensation and doesn’t provide enough for local governments that continue to struggle through the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the Amy Coney Barrett hearings, Jones said he disagreed with Democratic members of the judiciary committee who skipped the vote to move her forward in the process. If he had been a member of the committee, he would have at least been present to vote, he said. Barrett was confirmed to the Supreme Court by a Senate vote on Monday, Oct. 26.
Jones is slated to host a drive-in rally at the Mobile Civic Center at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 29. While the event is free to attend, the campaign is asking those interested to purchase tickets beforehand at Jones’s campaign website. Jones also took the opportunity to attack Republican challenger Tommy Tuberville for his reluctance to agree to interviews. Tuberville’s campaign was contacted several times by Lagniappe, but did not respond to interview requests.
“I talk to the media,” Jones said.
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