U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore has ducked a debate against his opponent Doug Jones ahead of the special election to replace the former seat of now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
WHNT-TV and AL.com invited both of the candidates to participate in a live, commercial-free debate. The Jones campaign accepted, but the Moore campaign declined.
The local news channel says it offered the Moore campaign six different date possibilities, but Moore refused every one of them. WHNT said that senatorial candidates should be held accountable, but Moore is neglecting that duty.
The Jones campaign responded to the dereliction, suggesting that Moore's woeful platform explains why the former judge won't appear on stage with him.
"Roy Moore has been hiding from the voters, from the media and from his record for weeks and now refuses to take the same stage with Doug in a debate," the Jones campaign told WHNT. "Doug has said repeatedly he was willing to debate Roy Moore anytime, anywhere, about Moore’s lack of support for Medicaid, Medicare, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program and about the more than $1 million Moore took from his foundation."
The Moore campaign responded to the slight, saying that the differences between the two candidates are already known by the voters:
While we appreciate the invitation from WHNT, the differences between the two candidates are crystal clear. Judge Roy Moore believes in cutting taxes. Doug Jones wants to raise your taxes. Judge Moore believes we should cut spending and balance the budget. Doug Jones believes in putting America in more debt. Judge Moore wants Obamacare repealed. Doug Jones wants to expand it. Judge Moore wants to rebuild the military. Doug Jones supported an administration that slashed our defense spending and put American security at risk. Judge Moore wants to secure our borders. Doug Jones wants open borders and supports amnesty. Judge Moore wants to protect our most vulnerable like our seniors and the unborn, but Doug Jones has spent his career defending violent criminals and he supports partial-birth abortion. There has never been a clearer choice: one candidate will stand up for Alabama and the other candidate will expand federal tyranny. Judge Moore will continue to take his message directly to the voters of Alabama.
In turn, the Jones camp responded to this statement by calling Moore an "embarrassment" and "bad for Alabama."
"Roy Moore is an embarrassment and bad for Alabama," the Jones campaign said. "He continues to peddle lies, tries to divide people, and refuses to answer questions about everyday issues affecting Alabamians."
Moore won the Republican Senate primary runoff in September against interim Senator Luther Strange. Moore was backed by former Trump Chief Strategist Steve Bannon.
Moore was twice removed as the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. The first time was in 2003, after he refused to take down a monument of the Ten Commandments in front of the Alabama Judicial Building, despite an order from a federal court. The second time was in 2016, when he instructed his probate judges not to issue same-sex marriage licenses after the U.S. Supreme Court had declared them constitutional.
Last year, Moore implied that the September 11 attacks were a punishment from God because Americans have moved away from religion. He was also an early and consistent voice in the Birther conspiracy movement, often insisting that former President Barack Obama is secretly a Muslim.