BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A U.S. Senate campaign that was thrust into the national spotlight by allegations of sexual misconduct by one of the candidates is near the finish line.
Here is a look at the race between Republican nominee Roy Moore, who spent the final month of the campaign denying allegations of long-ago misconduct involving teenage girls, and Doug Jones, who is seeking to break the GOP's grip on Alabama and pick up a seat in the Senate for Democrats:
THE POLLS SAY ...
The race is too close to call.
Moore easily defeated Republican Senate appointee Luther Strange in a September runoff election after leading the 10-person field in the primary, and he was on track to win until allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced. Now the race is a tossup.
Polls show Moore and Jones have seesawed for the lead in the final weeks of the campaign, with some showing Moore ahead and others showing Jones in the lead. The race will be decided by which candidate does a better job getting his supporters to actually vote.
WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO WIN?
A plurality of votes, and Republican Roy Moore's path to victory is wider than that of Democratic opponent Doug Jones.
White, evangelical conservatives make up the core of Moore's base and Alabama is full of them — President Donald Trump carried 63 percent of the state last year, and he's still popular with most GOP voters. Moore has to keep those people on his side and get them to the polls without seeing too much erosion among Republicans who simply sit out the election in response to allegations he sexually molested teen girls and tried to date others decades ago.
It's tougher for Jones, who started from behind since Alabama last sent a Democratic senator to Washington a quarter-century ago and has no Democrats in a statewide office.
Jones needs to energize the state's Democratic base, which consists primarily of black voters and white progressives in urban areas, and also peel away some votes that would typically go to a Republican. He tried to do that in the campaign's closing days by planning events with black leaders and staging concerts by two popular Alabama-based musical acts, Jason Isbell and St. Paul and the Broken Bones.
Write-in candidates could be a factor if the race is close. They'll only be counted if the total number of write-in ballots exceeds the difference between the top two candidates.
CANDIDATES' ELECTORAL RECORDS
Doug Jones is making is first run for elective office, but Roy Moore has mixed results in statewide elections.
Alabama voters twice have elected Moore to the Alabama Supreme Court, where he won the office of chief justice in 2000 and 2012. He didn't finish either term after being convicted of violating judicial ethics first for refusing a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building and again for an order he issued against same-sex marriage.
Moore didn't fare as well in two runs for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. Moore lost badly to Gov. Bob Riley in a 2006 campaign for the Republican nomination, and he finished fourth in a seven-person primary race in 2010.
In a sign of potential danger for Moore, he only narrowly beat the Democratic nominee in the 2012 race for chief justice. Moore carried 51.8 percent of the vote over Bob Vance, a circuit judge in Jefferson County who entered the race late.
The Alabama Senate race has garnered national attention. The question is whether Alabama residents have been paying attention as college football season winds down and the holiday season cranks up.
The timing of the special election for the seat long held by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was decided months ago by Gov. Kay Ivey.
Ivey's predecessor, Robert Bentley, appointed then-Attorney General Luther Strange to the seat and said the election would coincide with the 2018 scheduled elections.
Bentley resigned in April following a scandal and Ivey became governor, rescheduling the election within days after taking office. That means commercials hawking cars topped with red bows are sandwiched between negative ads targeting each candidate.
Write-in ballots could be a factor in a tight race. Several candidates are running write-in bids, and the secretary of state's office says such votes won't be counted unless the total number of write-in ballots exceeds the difference between the two leading candidates once other votes are tallied.
Even then, write-in votes wouldn't be counted until the seventh day after the election, when provisional ballots and absentee ballots cast by military personnel and overseas residents are compiled.
As for this Alabama ex pat on the lam in Key West...
My dreams last night had me and many people, allies, assembling and loading onto old sailing ships and retreating, if not fleeing, to Key West, and me reconnoitering with friends in Key West, who really care about me. Women, mostly. Including an amiga who was really worried about my homeless vodka addict prophet girlfriend, Kari Dangler.
I had been on the fence about whether I should move back to Alabama. Last night's dreams seemed to say not at this time. Maybe not at anytime.
I hate to think what living in Alabama will be like if Roy Moore is elected on Tuesday. If that happens, he very well could become America's next president.
Key West and the Florida Keys are one place in America where it might be relatively safe for loudmouth people with my views.
I'm glad I don't belong to a political party; glad I don't have that karma to look forward to living.
The Democrats', for running Hillary Clinton and giving the White House to Donald Trump.
The Republicans', for not rejecting Trump and fielding their own version of a 3rd-party candidate.
The Republicans', for not protesting after Trump endorsed Roy Moore.
I dunno, perhaps the only spiritually safe thing Republicans can do now is resign from the Republican Party and become non-affiliated, like George Will did.
Ditto, the Democrats.
One nation, under Lucifer, America is moving toward.
Perhaps all Americans should take a knee and bow their heads in silence when they pledge allegiance or hear the national anthem.
The great America train wreck aside,
a longstanding member of the Florida Keys Resistance emailed yesterday:
There's either build up or build down. I'd prefer to see downstairs enclosures ensured for working people.
This is former housing on Big Pine Key, after Hurricane Irma struck in September. Katie AtkinsKeynoter (keysnet.com), headquartered in Marathon, just above Seven Mile Bridge
Letters to the Editor
Keys Land Authority should take charge of some building rights DECEMBER 08, 2017 10:37 AM UPDATED DECEMBER 08, 2017 10:38 AM
Monroe County had a workforce housing crisis before Hurricane Irma. Then many homes that functionally served as workforce housing were destroyed. Now long-existing, common-sense policies are being challenged as roadblocks to recovery.
Last Stand is urging the Department of Economic Opportunity to reject the idea that fractional allocation of building rights will be a solution to the Florida Keys’ workforce housing problem. This proposal makes an already risky emergency evacuation plan even more dangerous by exceeding Monroe County’s capacity to reach safety.
To someone unfamiliar with evacuation planning details, the proposal to split building rights into fractional units, to be used to construct one-bedroom, efficiency or micro units, seems to be a rational idea. If a building permit can build a five- bedroom house, why can’t it build five one bedroom houses?
The answer comes from census figures. The key is households, not bedrooms. Data behind emergency evacuation planning reveals the average Keys household evacuates with 1.4 vehicles regardless of the number of bedrooms. When remaining building rights issued under a 2012 agreement are used, vehicles from these households will take 24 hours at maximum road capacity to get to the Miami-Dade County line. Splitting these building rights increases the number of households, increasing the number of vehicles in the evacuation stream beyond the capacity for a safe evacuation within the state-law-mandated 24 hours.
Houston had only 32 hours to landfall from the first Hurricane Harvey warning that was issued at 4 a.m. We know the Keys’ emergency evacuation plan is risky, because it will take 35 hours and 30 minutes to simultaneously evacuate residents, tourists, mobile homes and the military. If the Florida Keys ever experience a time line similar to Hurricane Harvey’s, it is doubtful everyone who wants to evacuate will be able to do so safely.
Now is the opportune time for a cash infusion to county- and city-controlled affordable housing trust funds, and Last Stand is calling on state Rep. Holly Raschein and state Sen. Anitere Flores to help. Building rights from homes that were destroyed are now for sale, and private interests are offering rock-bottom prices to distressed and displaced residents.
Allowing the Land Authority to purchase building rights would better assure that the replacement units would be allocated to workforce housing. Missing this opportunity in today’s market will guarantee that seasonally used homes or vacation rental investments will rise from the rubble mounds of what were functionally workforce housing units. Please don’t adopt a policy that creates substantial new risks while at best provides only a minor part of the solution to workforce housing needs.
MARK SONGER, PRESIDENT, LAST STAND, KEY WEST
I replied to the old resistance fighter's downstairs enclosure suggestion:
FEMA, Tallahassee and Citizens Insurance don't like and probably won't tolerate downstairs enclosures for living space, due to risk of downstairs enclosures to human safety during hurricanes, and cost of repairing same after hurricanes, and risk of storm wind and flood against downstairs enclosures compromising main structure integrity, thus more risk to human safety and building repairs.
FIRM [Fair Insurance Rates Monroe] tends to go batshit crazy when people talk about legalizing downstairs enclosures for living space.
Short of drastic reduction in Florida Keys human population, I don't see a remote solution to affordable housing crisis even without Irma damage to residential housing stock. Post Irma solution exponentially more remote.
What the local governments can do is stop issuing new residential building permits to private developers, and only permit subsidized project rental housing being built on local government land by the Housing Authority, which then manages said housing for the local governments, like is done in parts of Key West. That could create hundreds, or more, new affordable housing units in the Florida Keys, but would only make a dent in the affordable housing shortage and would take years to fully implement, which will be too late for many poor people now living in the Florida Keys.
This is the Catch-22 result of making real estate development a god in an environmentally sensitive hurricane zone.
He wrote back:
Real estate development a god in an environmentally sensitive hurricane zone. Yup.
I think our fellow resistance fighter (insurgent) Mark Songer nailed it pretty good regarding hurricane evacuation and the Land Trust buying up distressed residential real estate for sale, IF it is given to the Housing Authority to build cheap, hurricane-resistant rental housing.
In January 1995, one of those angel-directed things brought me to Big Pine Key, where I hung out a little over a week. I ate breakfast each morning at the cafe next to the Big Pine Motel.
One morning over breakfast, I read in the Keynoter an article in which local businesses (and chambers of commerce) all the way down to Key West were lobbying to have US 1 widened to enable more people to drive into the Florida Keys faster, and bring their money with them.
A later morning over breakfast, I read in the next Keynoter edition that three different US agencies, perhaps Interior, EPA, Department of Justice, had ruled widening US 1 would be an environmental threat to the fragile Florida Keys ecosystem, and bringing more tourist revenue to the Keys did not justify that increased threat.
The article also announced a building moratorium on Big Pine Key, because much of it was in a national wildlife refuge.
The same nice folks in the previous article, who had lobbied for widening US 1 to bring in more business revenue, now said that was not their motivation. Their motivation was to save lives by making it easier for people living in the Keys to evacuate faster.
When I moved to Little Torch Key in 2006 and drove around Big Pine a good bit and saw what looked to me like a lot of new housing, I wondered what had come of the building moratorium?
When I ran for county commissioner that year, I learned that the only reason for the artificially low hurricane evacuation schedule was it allowed more residential housing to be built in the Florida Keys.
So, my campaign mantra that year was: No more new development, period, the end. The Florida Keys already are way overdeveloped and there is not a person living in the Keys who can look in a mirror and honestly argue otherwise.
I perhaps should be spanked for bending to promote letting the Housing Authority build affordable rental housing on local government-owned land. Perhaps I simply should hold out for a Category 5 hurricane, since a Category 4 (Irma) seems not to have made a sufficient dent in the local governments' blind allegiance to their revered developer gods.
Kinda reminds me of the blind allegiance Donald Trump and Roy Moore have from their congregations.
During a 2006 candidate forum in Key West, Chamber of Commerce forum, as I recall, I was asked a question about the new county government and cultural center (ego monument) being built on Key Largo, to keep the rich Ocean Reef Club folks happy and giving money to Key Largo ...
Except the question was so long and convoluted that it seemed like it had escaped from a state mental hospital, and in my new kid on the block political candidate naivety, I said that I didn't know enough about the topic to even begin to answer the question, which answer you read above.
The people running the forum acted as if they were going to pass me by, until someone said, give him another question, which was, did I think the Mosquito Control Board, which was a separate government entity, should be merged into the Monroe County Government?
Well, back in the day, my father had owned a lovely home on Lower Matecumbe Key at Mile Marker 76, and I had done a lot of bonefishing on the flats around that island, and I had been sprayed countless times by the mosquito spray plane dumping DDT, which darn near ended up extincting all of the land birds in the Keys, before DDT was replaced with something else not quite as deadly, but having been a fanatical organic gardener for many years, I knew there were no safe aerial insecticides.
From that baseline, I said, well, if it was my call, I would get rid of Mosquito Control. Because I think the sprays are more harmful to people than the mosquitoes. The room stopped breathing. My opponent, incumbent George Neugent, sitting right beside me, chuckled low, said low, That would create a lot of affordable housing. So, you see, as early as mid-2006, when George said that, affordable housing was a big issue in the Florida Keys. Long before Hurricane Irma in 2016. Yet and instead of dealing with that big issue, the County Commission kept laying down and spreading its collective legs to developers.
On a more personal front ...
An amiga, who spends some of her time in Key West, but now is somewhere on the Florida mainland, called late yesterday afternoon to say she'd gotten an inmate phone call from the sheriff's jail on stock island, in which the caller said her name, Kari Dangler, and would my amiga accept the call? She was doing something else on her I-phone and in her effort to switch over to take the call, she broke the connection.
I had been in Jack Flats sports bar, where I could not hear my phone. I also still had the ringer turned off from when I took a nap earlier and would not have heard calls in any event. Several calls from the sheriff's jail were showing. One truncated voicemail indicated it was from the jail.
My amiga on the Florida mainland found Kari's charges online. Misdemeanor trespass. I then found the charges online. The address of the arrest suggested what may have happened.
Kari had told me on the phone yesterday morning, from where she had taken shelter to get out of the driving rainstorm caused by the incoming cold front, that when there was a lull in the rain, she needed to go back to where she sleeps at night and retrieve her belongings that she had left there and put them where she stores stuff she cannot tote around on her bicycle. The address showing for the arrest was the address of where she sleeps nights.
Why arrest and jail Kari, instead of tell her to pick up her meager belongings and not come back?
She's an addict. She's in the jail's sickbay, detoxing under medical supervision.
What's that costing the sheriff and the taxpayers?
What's the State Attorney prosecuting Kari, and the Public Defender defending Kari, and a judge presiding over Kari's case, and the jail transporting Kari to court hearings costing the local criminal justice system and the taxpayers?
For a simple misdemeanor. Committed on a hell day for all homeless people. A driving rain day. In the city that claims its official creed is One Human Family. If you are not homeless.
The city that would dry up and blow away if it had no booze for its legions of resident addicts and party-seeking tourists.
As for my personal feelings, I told my amiga, who had let me know Kari is in jail, that I had been talking to the angels about Kari needing them to stop her vodka drinking and cigarette smoking. The city police put her in jail for trespass for a month or so. She cannot make bail. I won't bail her out while she is in withdrawal and getting clean.
In that sense, God arranged for Kari to be in jail.
Perhaps when she is released, she will see it was a good thing, in the big scheme, and will stay clean. Right, that might be really wishful thinking and hoping on my part.
But then, perhaps the angels now will put the fear of God into Kari. I have not seen the angels use that approach with her. Maybe they won't. Maybe it's all on her.
If so, that might not turn out so good for her. She might be, as I have published many times, better off dead, than to get out of jail and go back to her old drug habits and living on the street, which lifestyle produced this mugshot yesterday:
Arrest Date: 12/09/2017 Time: 15:05 CAD #: KWPD17OFF006077 Offense #: Name: DANGLER, KARI ANNE DoB:12/06/1961 Age:56 Sex:F Race:W Address: STREETS OF KEY WEST, KEY WEST, FL 33040 Occupation: NONE Arrest Location: 3316 NORTHSIDE DR, KEY WEST Arresting Officer/Agency: KWPD, - KWPD Bond Amount: $0
Charges: 1 Misdemeanor Count(s) of 810.09.2a - TRESPASSING - PROPERTY NOT STRUCTURE OR CONVEY
Here's Kari shortly after being released from jail in early 2016:
Fort Zach, Key West
I have told Kari, if she is clean and committed to staying clean, that I will look for an apartment in which we live together, to see if it can work out for us. She has resented my conditions, views them as my trying to control her, which she won't allow anyone to do. I have not budged, because I know there is no hope for us as a couple, nor for her on her own, if she keeps using.
Along that same line of thought, my Hoodoo Witch friend, who thinks Kari has huge spirit potential, but her addiction is blocking it, told me the other day that her American mid-west state allows addicts to claim disability and get paid for it. I said I didn't want to hear any more about that. It's madness. She said she had to agree. Give an addict money to buy more drugs. For AA, NA and alcohol/drug rehab advocates, counting her stints in the county jail, Kari had done rehab about a dozen times. At one time, she hosted AA meetings on Key Largo. That approach did not work for her, I think because she never felt or thought there was anything wrong with being a vodka addict. She only did rehab because it was forced on her by being in jail, or because she was trying to get more visitation with her daughter, so she went to private rehab clinics. Old times in AA have told me that the AA relapse rate is 95 percent. NA, the same. Rehab clinics, the same. They don't advertise it. Bad for business.
Also along that line of thought, excerpts from a Facebook thread started yesterday by an amiga who lives up east and visits Key West somewhat regularly.
Her parts in italics:
I've done some pretty dumb things in my life. By far the dumbest thing I ever did was to start smoking. I think it was when I was around 12. It's been so long I really can't even remember. I'm a junkie. I can't remember how life was before I started, but I can remember all the times I was running out or running low...the panic that would kick in. I avoided social functions where I couldn't smoke, people who disliked smokers, my husband when he told me I stunk, my mom when she pleaded with me to stop. In reality smoking made me a person that I really do not like. Selfish, dumb. It's only day 10 so I can't claim victory. I can never claim victory over this sick desire and addiction. I'm just asking for a prayer for wisdom. I have attached photos of my life as a smoker. I could attach almost every picture that was ever taken of me, but I always took the time to crop out the cigarette.
Sloan Bashinsky A couple of times in Key West, after I talked with people much younger than me about what smoking does to them, not just what science knows, but the lungs are the spirit organs of feeling, and people who smoke don't know how they really feel about anything, because their lungs are impaired, I told them that the angels would help them stop smoking, if they asked the angels for that help. They asked and right away they lost the desire to smoke, they later told me. Some of them later went back to it, not because they were in nicotine withdrawal, but because they were miserable, or bored, or just plain stupid, is what I told them. Be given a gift like that and throw it away. Why not just kick God in the teeth instead?
I just asked the Angels for help with this Sloan. Today is a bad day for me. I'm trying to keep busy. I put my Christmas Tree up, decorated it....then took it down and put it back up and decorated it again. Now I'm trying to figure out what else I'm going to do for the rest of the day...for the rest of my life. You are right about the impaired lung thing and not knowing how to feel....
Sloan Bashinsky I've heard nicotine is the most difficult drug habit to quit. I hope the angels help you do it. Imagine the economic crisis, if everyone who uses tobacco stops using it : I imagine a good physical workout or along walk might steady you when you feel you are about to jump out of your skin. Compensating with other stimulants, such as coffee, soft drinks, candy, etc. creates its own problems.
My mother smoked 2 packs of Pall Malls a day, starting when she was 15, to rebel against her Puritan parents, she told me a few times. Our home smelled like cigarette smoke, especially her and my father's bedroom. I sometimes go nauseated when I was in her car with her.
I think that cured me of ever even thinking about smoking a cigarette. In my 30's, I tried smoking a pipe for a couple of years, after being egged on by other people. I was having a rough go during that time, making a "statement" with the pipe theoretically was to bolster my spirits. It burned my tongue and the inside of my mouth, and stunk up my law office, and I quit.
My mother died of cancer at age 45. It had started in her lungs, then went elsewhere. By the time it was diagnosed my second year in law school, there was nothing that could be done about it.
its best to never start. I wished I had that wisdom 40 years ago. Besides the nicotine in cigarettes...today they are using additional chemicals to further enhance the addiction. Bastards. I fell for it. So mad at myself.
Sloan Bashinsky I think tobacco companies have no soul. The angels can help you, if they will. They might ask for something in return. To further help you and perhaps others. Each person they help is treated differently, but there tends to be that exchange, which actually is a paradigm shift for the person being helped, a spiritual acceleration, which can feel like a test, is a test, as well as being helped. Such tests sometimes test other people in the circle of the person being helped, as that person changes, which actually is the angels also trying to help those other people.
I am aware that the angels are also testing my husband....the poor soul has had to deal with me for the last 11 days. He does not smoke so does not really get the fact that I'm a addict.
Sloan Bashinsky Hard to imagine he does not get the fact that you are an addict. In that, and other ways, he might be tested. When one person in a closed system changes, that "twangs" the system. Systems like to be left alone. Like people, systems do not like to change. Fight it. Even if the change is for the good. I'm interested in hearing how this goes for you. Do it for yourself. Do it for God. Do it for people near you, who are most affected.
Back to the beginning of this post today (pop quiz):
Do you think maybe politics is an addiction?
Do you think maybe religion is an addiction?
Do you think maybe greed is an addiction?
Do you think maybe lying is an addiction?
Do you think maybe war is an addiction?
Do you think maybe addiction is rooted in absence or destruction of the internal feminine, whose spiritual counterpart is what Christians call The Holy Spirit?
Not having Her in them, people are driven to replace Her with something that makes them feel a little better, even if it is deadly to them.
Right, that's what drives Donald Trump. Her absence in him.
Ditto, Roy Moore.
Ditto, most of humanity. Which pleases Lucifer immensely.