In a shift from his previous approach, Doug Jones, the Democratic candidate running against Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race, has released a pair of videos calling Moore an “abuser” and calling his actions “disturbing.”
The ad released Wednesday, which Jones tweeted with the caption, “immoral,” begins by listing the names of the nine women who accused him of sexually assaulting or pursuing them.
The list of accusers, the ad says, is growing:
They were girls when Roy Moore immorally pursued them. Now they are women, witnesses to us all of his disturbing conduct. Will we make their abuser a US Senator?
The ad, released three weeks before the election, is one of two to focus on Moore’s allegations of sexual misconduct in advertisements. The first, released on Tuesday, quoted Ivanka Trump and Jeff Sessions saying they believed Moore’s accusers (“Ivanka Trump says there’s a special place in hell for people who prey on children”) and Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby saying he would not vote for Roy Moore. “Conservative voices, putting children and women over party, doing what’s right.”
The allegations have certainly made a difference in the race. One poll commissioned by Raycom News Network recently found Moore with a tight two-point lead over Jones, a number down from the 11-point lead Moore had before the Washington Post’s story detailing the first allegations of Moore pursuing teenage girls, according to Al.com.
So far, Jones’ campaign has emphasized unity, common ground, and a willingness to work with Republicans, and he has avoided stepping into the national conversation, likely a wise move in a race in which he needs to win over white voters in a deeply conservative state.
It’s not clear what effect the change in tone will have for Jones’ campaign. Slate’s Jamelle Bouie argued Jones’ best move is to “not step on the story and let it play itself out while he campaigns.” Jones’ campaign seems to think it has to make an effort itself to keep the focus on the allegations.
The Moore campaign is still showing signs of turmoil—Moore’s communications director resigned, it was confirmed Wednesday—but is working to depict the accusations as a political hit job and whip their base into a defensive anger.
President Trump weighed in on the allegations on Tuesday, saying he believes Roy Moore and telling Alabama voters "we don't need a liberal person in there."