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“Dear Alabama”: tweets pleaded with voters not to elect Roy Moore

But they could backfire.

Voters In Alabama Head To The Polls For State's Special Election To Fill Jeff Sessions Seat Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Jen Kirby is a senior foreign and national security reporter at Vox, where she covers global instability.

“Dear Alabama,” Twitter users from the other 49 states wrote on Tuesday, a social media plea directed to Alabamians to vote in the special election to fill the Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The race gained national scrutiny after several women accused Republican candidate Roy Moore, a far-right conservative and former state Supreme Court judge, of sexual misconduct, including one who said Moore groped her when she was 14 years old and he was in his 30s.

Moore’s candidacy was damaged but not destroyed by the allegations (or the many other controversial things he’s said and done). Thus the last-ditch effort to convince the state not to elect the guy:

The pro-Moore faction also got involved, with slightly different messages for Alabama voters:

While some of these messages came from those within the state pleading with their fellow Alabamians, many more appeared to be from outsiders. So there’s a chance they could backfire. This dynamic — Alabama versus everyone else — is a familiar theme in the state’s politics, one that Moore has tried to exploit.

As Quin Hillyer wrote in the New York Times:

The Moore campaign has played upon these feelings with effective (but mendacious) commercials, painting the allegations as “a scheme by liberal elites and the Republican establishment.” His door hangers carry dual banner taglines: “Principle over politics” at the top and “Alabama over Washington” at the bottom.

Even Doug Jones, the Democrat, appeared skittish about bringing too much national attention to his campaign. National Democratic groups obliged and largely steered clear of Alabama; high-profile politicians only showed up toward the bitter end of the campaign.

William Stewart, a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Alabama, suggested in an interview that though Alabamians may not love Moore, there’s a bit of a “he may not be the best guy, but he’s our guy” mentality. Plus, the largely Republican-leaning state knows that Moore will support President Trump’s conservative agenda — ultimately the most critical point for many voters.

“The attitude of many Alabamians matches the general mood among of unbelief among Americans,” Stewart said. “We’re extremely divided politically, and one party does not believe many of the assertions that are made by the opposite party, and vice versa.”

The perception that Alabama is a monolith can make the state prickle at criticism or attacks lobbed at one of their own: “Alabamians have a built-in hostility toward those on the outside who would attempt to influence their votes in a particular election,” Stewart said, adding: “Such as today’s.”

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