US Senate special election primary heating up in Alabama - FOX10 News | WALA

US Senate special election primary heating up in Alabama

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Less than a week away from the special election primary to fill the vacant US Senate seat left by now Attorney General Jeff Sessions, candidates are rushing around the state of Alabama, making appearances, and offering their final pleas for the position. 

For the Republicans, it's a matter of who can best push President Donald Trump's agenda - repealing the Affordable Health Care Act, enforcing stronger immigration laws, and "draining the swamp."

For the Democrats, it's an unusual battle between two top candidates - Robert Kennedy Jr., a political newcomer, yet astute Duke University graduate and Navy veteran, and Doug Jones, a former US Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama who touts his down-home, blue-collar roots of Fairfield, Ala. 

Tuesday night, the Republican primary took an interesting twist, when President Trump endorsed current Senator Luther Strange. 

However, an exclusive FOX10 News Strategy Research Poll, shows Strange still has some tough competition if he wants to take a win next Tuesday night. 

FOX10 News Strategy Research poll results

Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Robert Kennedy, Jr. lead the list of U.S. Senate candidates in an exclusive, FOX10 News/Strategy Research statewide telephone survey conducted August 7.

Republicans who plan to vote in the August 15 primary favored the former Alabama Chief Justice over his nearest opponent, incumbent Senator Luther Strange, with Rep. Mo Brooks placing third with 19%.  Trip Pittman of Montrose had 9%.  Here are the standings:

  • Roy Moore: 35%
  • Luther Strange: 29%
  • Mo Brooks:  19%
  • Trip Pittman: 9%

The race among the Democrats appears to be between Robert Kennedy, Jr. and Doug Jones.  Here are the results of the Democrat survey:

  • Robert Kennedy, Jr.  40%
  • Doug Jones  30%

Candidate's reaction to the results

In the Democratic party, Kennedy, who received 40% of support from the voters we polled statewide, said he's humbled by the result, and hopes to win over the moderate vote. 

"I'm a fiscally responsible Democrat, who leads with faith, I am a formal naval officer who served on active duty for over nine years, and I'm the only person on either the Democratic or Republican side, who volunteered to come back in the service after September 11th and serve my country," said Kennedy. 

Kennedy went on to explain his campaign focuses on the Alabama constituents through faith, family, and freedom. 

"I believe, given the culture of corruption that came out of the high profile resignations in Montgomery, that folks are actually looking for a different kind of candidate. They are looking for someone who is had the courage to lead during dangerous situations, they're looking for someone who has the commitment to do the right thing," said Kennedy.

Kennedy's democratic opponent, Jones, who came in at 30%, was unavailable for comment Wednesday.

However, a spokesperson for his campaign wrote in an email to FOX10 News, "Former US Attorney Doug Jones, who lead the charge against the KKK in the Church Bombing prosecution in Birmingham, has a proven record of winning when he goes into battle and when informed voters looks at the record of accomplishments for the state and for Alabamians, without a doubt-- Doug Jones is the leader, hands down."

Regarding the exclusive FOX10 News poll, the spokesperson wrote, "this is fake news, fake poll by a well known republican operative who seem(s) to be supporting Kennedy."

On the Republican side, Pittman, with 9% support from voters we polled, said his business background will allow him to accomplish Trump's goals. He also said he mirrors the president, in that he isn't a part of the swamp, which he believes still needs draining, even saying his opponent, Strange, "built the swamp."

"We haven't elected a businessman to the U.S. Senate in 110 years, that must change," said Pittman. "If you are a businessman, you're not going to be successful and stay in business if you're not honest with your customers, unless you do what you say you're going to do. I'm going to do what I say I'm going to do."

Brooks, who pushed for legislation to allow members of congress to carry firearms after he survived a mass shooting incident at a congressional baseball practice earlier this year, came in at 19%. 

Brooks was totally on the attack in his interview with FOX10 News Wednesday. He said he's not letting the numbers get in the way of his campaign, even explaining he didn't believe the FOX10 News poll was accurate. 

"I don't think that they're anywhere close to reality, it is a very difficult thing to accurately poll under the circumstances that we face during a special election, a one time event that has never before happened in the history of the state of Alabama, to have a special election in August," said Brooks. 

Strange, who just received President Trump's endorsement, didn't seem too worried about coming in at 29% on our FOX10 News Strategy Research poll.

"That sounds like it's in the ballpark of what we've seen, you know numbers go up and down, but as I always say, having run statewide successfully, the only poll that really matters is Election Day," said Strange. "People want to see the president's agenda implemented, and I'm so pleased that he thinks I'm the person to do that."

Strange said he felt confident that he could gain more voters' support by next Tuesday. 

"The voters of Alabama know me from my six years as Attorney General, as someone who's come up with common sense conservative solutions to real problems," said Strange. 

We're still working to get a comment from Judge Roy Moore, but he did comment about Strange's presidential endorsement Wednesday at a press conference in Montgomery. 

"I think the people are not voting for president Trump, they are voting for his agenda, which I firmly believe in," he said. 

As of 7 p.m. Wednesday night, Moore's campaign had not returned a request for comment about the poll numbers, or why he would be the right person for the job. 

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