Skip to content

Jones needs black voters to beat Moore. They aren’t there yet.

December 8, 2017

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Sylvester Dawson will vote Tuesday in Alabama’s Senate election, but he’s hardly thrilled about the choices.

“Honestly speaking, I’m not that excited about either one of them,” Dawson said of Democrat Doug Jones and Republican Roy Moore as he shaved a client at the barber shop he’s run for 23 years in Birmingham’s historic black business district.

A Jones field office sits just a few steps away, smack in the middle of a row of black barber shops and take-out joints lined up along 4th Avenue. But Dawson, who is black, said he hasn’t felt compelled to step inside. “I don’t know Doug Jones,” he said.

Still, Dawson will vote for him. “He’s a Democrat, I’m a Democrat. And I’ve got to exercise my right to vote,” Dawson said.

That tepid enthusiasm is widespread among African-Americans in Alabama, concerning Democratic officials and operatives who know black voters are the core of the party’s base in this deeply Republican state.

Image: Doug Jones

Democratic senatorial candidate Doug Jones speaks at a news conference on Dec. 4, 2017, in Dolomite, Alabama.