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Doug Jones got more money from Alabama voters than Roy Moore did

The Democrat has raised an astonishing sum from donors in his conservative state.

A campaign donation recorded for Doug Jones.
Federal Election Commission

It's entirely possible that deeply conservative Alabama could end up electing a Democrat to the Senate for the first time in 25 years — so progressive groups and Democrats across the country have poured a ton of time and money into Tuesday’s special election.

Democratic nominee Doug Jones has raised the most money by far. The Birmingham lawyer has raised $11.5 million in individual contributions since May — more than double the $5.2 million raised by Republican nominee Roy Moore, according to federal campaign finance data.

Conservative groups have brushed this off as a sign that Moore — who faces allegations of sexual assault — is running a humble grassroots campaign with support from the people of Alabama, while Jones is the puppet of liberal elites from New York and California.

Yet campaign finance data suggests this isn’t true. In fact, both candidates have raised most of their money from out-of-state donors, and Jones has gotten far more donations from Alabama than his Republican opponent — a striking feat for a Democrat in a deep-red state.

More people in Alabama have given money to Jones

No matter how you look at the data, Jones has gotten much more financial support from Alabama voters than Moore, based on both the number of donors and the total amount donated.

Since May, Jones has raised $3.9 million from people in Alabama, compared to the $771,202 Moore has raised.

Jones's biggest donors in the state are a personal injury lawyer, the former head of a local department store, and the head of an Alabama law firm.

Federal Election Commission

Moore's biggest donors in Alabama are the president of a CPA firm, Moore himself, and an organization called the Political Strategy Group.

Federal Election Commission

These are all relatively small donations, as no one gave more than $6,000 total for the primary and special elections. But all the individual donations add up. About 5,000 people in Alabama have donated to Jones, while about 1,000 have donated to Moore — suggesting that Jones leads in grassroots financial support within the state.

Out-of-state donors and political groups have flooded Alabama

It's true that out-of-state donors from liberal states have sent tons of money to Jones. He has raised $7.6 million more from people living outside Alabama than Moore has. But as a proportion of all their donations, Moore got way more money from out-of-state donors: About 66 percent of Jones’s donations came from outside Alabama, while 85 percent of Moore's did.

Democratic states have certainly boosted Jones's campaign. He raised $1.6 million from donors in California and $1.5 million from donors in New York.

Individual contributions to Doug Jones's campaign.
Federal Election Commission

On the other hand, Moore has raised $401,251 from donors in Texas and $289,842 from donors in California.

Individual contributions to Roy Moore's campaign.
Federal Election Commission

Moore has also been the target of millions of dollars in attack ads paid for by out-of-state political groups, known as PACS. A handful of groups spent a total of $2.5 million opposing Moore, though most of the money was spent during the Republican primary.

Moore's biggest foes at the time were the National Rifle Association and the Mitch McConnell-aligned Senate Leadership Fund. Both groups tried to oust Moore during the primary in an effort to seat the more moderate Luther Strange, the Alabama attorney who has temporarily filled Jeff Sessions's Senate seat. (The NRA endorsed Strange for his pro-gun voting record as a state senator in Alabama.)

Their efforts didn't work, but all the money they spent attacking Moore during the primary likely helps Jones.

Conservative political groups have spent far less money attacking Jones — $29,000 so far. That makes sense, since no one considered the Democratic candidate a serious threat in the reliably red state until the sexual assault and misconduct allegations against Moore began to surface in November.

Since then, groups like the Solutions Fund PAC and Courageous Conservatives PAC have been spending modest amounts of money to defeat Jones.

All this money that has poured into Alabama certainly impacts the race. It helps each campaign hire people to knock on doors, call voters, and place ads on television.

Yet spending more money is hardly a surefire path to success; after all, Hillary Clinton raised far more money than Donald Trump, and she still lost. But the $11 million Jones has gotten so far doesn't hurt.

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