By John Whitesides
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Reuters) - Name-calling is not unusual in U.S. politics. But "child abuser" is not usually one of the names.
In the final stretch of a bruising U.S. Senate race in Alabama, Democrat Doug Jones has cranked up his attacks on Republican Roy Moore over allegations of sexual misconduct and made those charges central to his argument that Moore is an unsuitable choice.
Jones, who avoided directly addressing the sexual allegations when they surfaced in early November, has begun to cite them to attack Moore's character.
On Tuesday, one week before the Dec. 12 special election and a day after Republican President Donald Trump endorsed Moore, Jones said women who allege that Moore assaulted or pursued them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s deserved to be believed.
"I believe these women and so should you. This is about rising above political party to do what's right for Alabama, and for the country," Jones told voters during a speech in Birmingham.
Moore, a 70-year-old Christian conservative, has denied the misconduct allegations and said they were a result of "dirty politics." He said last week he had never met any of the women involved. Reuters has not independently verified any of the accusations.Advertisement
Moore, who was twice removed from the state Supreme Court for refusing to abide by federal law, was a "source of embarrassment" for the people of Alabama, Jones said.
The raw tone has become typical of a race transformed by the Moore allegations, opening the door for a possible Democratic upset in the conservative Southern state that would deal a blow to Trump's agenda and dramatically improve Democratic chances of regaining Senate control in next year's congressional elections.
Jones has cranked up his attacks as the initial wave of voter outrage over the allegations has shown signs of fading, enabling Moore to regain a slight lead in several recent opinion polls in a state that went for Trump by 28 percentage points last year. Alabama has not elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1992.
Jones, who holds a fundraising advantage on Moore and has accumulated four times as much cash on hand for the stretch drive, has launched an advertising blitz focusing on the misconduct allegations.
This news has been published by title Alabama Democrat Turns Up Attacks On Roy Moore In Senate Race\'s Final Stretch
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