Geography and authority took center stage last week as the allegations of misconduct against Roy Moore rolled on. In the old Alabama way of saying it, the questions were: Where are you from? Who are your people?
Moore, a Republican, and Doug Jones, a Democrat, are competing for a U.S. Senate seat. The election is Dec. 12, just a little more than three weeks away.
Multiple women have come forward in recent weeks to allege that when they were teenagers, Moore, then in his early 30s, pursued them romantically. Two other women have alleged Moore committed sexual assault against them when they were teens. Moore and his campaign have consistently denied the allegations.
Last week, national figures in the Republican Party began to back away from Moore, saying they would put the outcome of the election in the hands of the voters.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said President Donald Trump “thinks that the people of Alabama should make the decision of who their next senator should be.”
“The most appropriate course of action, in my view, is to leave the final judgment in the hands of Alabama voters — where it has always belonged — and withdraw my endorsement,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, too, said that “the decision is now in the hands of the people of Alabama.”
It’s worth noting that many of these same un-endorsers were just a few weeks back willing to tell those Alabama voters how they should cast their votes.
At a campaign event in Birmingham on Thursday, Moore sounded the alarm that outsiders were messing in Alabamians’ business.
“Many of you have recognized that this is an effort by Mitch McConnell and his cronies to steal this election from the people of Alabama, and they will not stand for it,” Moore said.
It’s also worth noting that McConnell, who is a longtime U.S. senator from Kentucky, was born in the north Alabama town of Sheffield. As I recently learned from a column in The Randolph Leader by John W. Stevenson, McConnell lived in Wadley as a young child before his family moved north to Kentucky.
Those Alabama roots ought to count for something considering so many of Moore’s advocates who spoke in his defense at Thursday’s press event were not from Alabama.
Those supporters included Alan Keyes, who has run for the U.S. Senate in two states, neither of which is Alabama. Other states represented by the speakers were North Carolina, Texas, Ohio and New York.
One New Yorker was Rabbi Noson Leiter, who assured the court that Moore was prepared to battle “gay terrorists.”
Immediately after the Moore event Thursday, “terrorist” was one of the few labels the candidate’s boosters didn’t apply to the reporters on hand.
“Look at the mob. These people are sick, sick, sick,” said Flip Benham of North Carolina, in reference to journalists who were standing around him.
Lauren Walsh, a TV reporter with ABC 33/40, may have done the best in this battle of who and where on Thursday during that media scrum.
“Sir, I’m an Alabama reporter,” she said to Benham. “I live in Birmingham. And, we haven’t had a chance to ask our Senate candidate questions all week.”
Like we said, geography and authority.