By TODD STACY, Alabama Daily News
GREENVILLE, Ala. – Four Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate pitched local voters in Butler County on why they’d be the best contender to take on Democratic U.S. Sen. Doug Jones in next year’s general election.
During the Butler County Republican Party’s candidate forum Monday night, the candidates mostly avoided attacks on each other while levying harsh criticisms of Jones.
“We’ve got to send Doug Jones packing,” said State Rep. Arnold Mooney, who represents a Birmingham area district in the Alabama Legislature. “When we give him a new ZIP code, maybe it won’t be New York or Washington or California. Maybe it’ll be a ZIP code that’s outside of the United States because he doesn’t represent us, he doesn’t vote like us, he doesn’t think like us. and there’s nothing about him that matches up with us.”
U.S. Congressman Bradley Byrne was specifically critical of Jones’ votes against a bill that would have banned abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy and the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. But Byrne spent much of his speech drawing a stark contrast between the worldviews of Republicans and Democrats in Washington, including on the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
“Now, if you think that after this impeachment is over that the fight is over, it’s not,” Byrne said. “Again, it’s about two different value systems. So what do you want out of your next U.S. senator? First of all, you want someone who shares your values; someone who wakes up every day and understands ‘I am from Alabama, I am for Alabama and I am of Alabama.'”
Watch all the the candidate speeches in their entirety HERE:
Secretary of State John Merrill was mostly collegial in his comments, reminding voters of his experience in public office, both from his time in the Alabama Legislature and his current role.
“What do you want out of the person who is going to represent you in Washington as your next United States senator? I think what you want is a proven conservative reformer who has been effective as a member of a legislative body,” Merrill said. He touted a previous ranking from the Sunlight Coalition as Alabama’s most effective legislator from the 2011-2014 term.
Businessman Stanley Adair acknowledged that he was likely the lesser known among the candidates speaking Monday night, but left a lasting impression in his sermon-like speech.
“How many can say Doug Jones has got to go?” Adair asked, to “amens” and applause from the crowd. “Listen: it’s time to stop sending the same people to Washington expecting a different result… It’s time to change out the old guard and bring some new people to town.”
Former U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions, former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville and former Chief Justice Roy Moore were not in attendance.
Butler County GOP Chairman Cleve Poole noted the solid turnout of around 100 people and thanked the candidates who came.
“You won’t find people more committed to the conservative cause than right here in Butler County, and we take our vote seriously. I appreciate the candidates who took the time to be here and share their vision about how to win back this Senate seat for Republicans.”
Two candidates for Congress in Alabama’s 2nd District were also in attendance – Dothan businessman Jeff Coleman and Prattville businesswoman Jessica Taylor. Due to time constraints, only the Senate candidates were able to speak.