Former President Barack Obama recorded a get-out-the-vote call for Democratic Alabama Senate candidate Doug Jones, CNN reports. In the pre-recording, he implores voters to go to the polls Tuesday to reject the candidacy of Republican party member Roy Moore. Obama’s involvement is just the latest in a combined, aggressive Democratic effort to counter President Donald Trump’s full endorsement of the controversial Republican candidate.
“This one’s serious,” Obama says in the call. “You can’t sit it out.”
The former president’s call to Alabama voters is meant to aid Jones’ special election campaign, filling a U.S. Senate seat left vacant by Jeff Sessions when Trump appointed him to Attorney General. Democratic New Jersey Senator Cory Booker has campaigned in Alabama for Jones, while other Democratic senators have fundraised on Jones’ behalf.
But some of Jones’ advisors fear that the former president’s endorsement could backfire and hurt Jones, according to The New York Times. While Obama is well-loved by the black voters, he is still unpopular among some of the Republican-leaning white voters Jones needs.
“Doug Jones is a fighter for equality, for progress,” Obama says in the recording, via CNN. “Doug will be our champion for justice. So get out and vote, Alabama.”
Doug Jones is counting on black voters to choose him — in fact, their turnout is critical for his campaign to win the special election — and Obama’s message to voters is intended to specifically reach that demographic audience.
“Certainly, the clearest path for Jones is to get the African-American share,” said Zac McCrary, a Democratic pollster at Anzalone Liszt Grove Research in Montgomery, Alabama. “It’s deceptively simple arithmetic to see how he gets there.”