In a normal race, one candidate skipping town in the final days of the campaign to watch a football game might be a big scandal. Roy Moore probably figured that if people are still willing to vote for him despite being accused of molesting teen girls, making Islamophobic remarks, making anti-gay remarks, and suggesting that all constitutional amendments after the Tenth should be voided, they won’t mind his apparent lack of commitment to Tuesday’s special Senate election in Alabama.
Moore has not held any public campaign events since Tuesday, and by the end of last week, reporters were asking why he’d disappeared. “He’s campaigning,” Moore spokesman Ben DuPre said on Thursday. “He’s campaigning hard.”
Yet Moore wasn’t campaigning where anyone could see him, and on Saturday Tom Barnes, Moore’s Cullman County campaign chair, offered Vice News an explanation. “Roy is at the Army-Navy game to see his son. So that’s where he was yesterday,” Barnes said. “Family comes before politics with Roy.”
On Sunday two GOP sources confirmed to Politico that Moore spent Saturday watching the Army-Navy game in Philadelphia. Moore went to West Point, and his son Micah currently attends. Moore was not spotted at the game, and it’s unclear if he was in the stadium or watching from elsewhere. Moore wrote a Facebook post about the matchup, but didn’t indicate that he would be in Philadelphia to watch it.
Either way, Politico notes some operatives cautioned that it’s unwise to bail on the final days of a campaign:
One of those Republicans, who expressed concern about Moore’s absence, said that the planned trip was discussed with Moore’s campaign within the last few weeks and the candidate determined to go — case closed.
The Moore campaign would not confirm that the candidate was in Philadelphia and declined to discuss his whereabouts. When Moore failed to show up to church on Sunday, his campaign adviser Brett Doster suggested the media was to blame for his absence. “Out of respect for people who want to worship without reporters hanging over their heads gawking, no, he did not attend church this morning,” Doster told BuzzFeed News.
Democrats kept busy in Moore’s absence, with New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick campaigning for Doug Jones. According to the New York Times, former president Obama has recorded a get-out-the-vote call for Jones, but his advisers are still considering whether to use it. Black turnout could change the tide of the race — in which Moore still appears to hold a lead of several points — but the Obama call could scare off some white Republican-leaning voters who are considering supporting Jones.
Hi, this is President Donald Trump and I need Alabama to go vote for Roy Moore. It is so important. We are already making America great again. I’m going to make America safer and stronger and better than ever before. But we need that seat. We need Roy voting for us. I’m stopping illegal immigration and crime. We’re building a stronger military and protecting the Second Amendment and our pro-life values.
But if Alabama elects liberal Democrat Doug Jones, all of our progress will be stopped cold. We already know Democrat Doug Jones is a puppet of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer and he will vote with Washington liberals every single time. Democrat Jones is soft on crime, weak on immigration, supports abortion. He’s bad for our military and bad for our vets. We don’t want him and he also, by the way, wants higher taxes.
Wherever he was, it appears Moore’s break from campaigning is over. He’s expected to appear at a rally in southeastern Alabama on Monday night along with Texas Representative Louie Gohmert and former White House adviser Steve Bannon. At a rally for Moore a week ago Bannon lobbed a vicious attack at Mitt Romney in which he declared, “Judge Roy Moore has more honor and integrity in his pinky finger than your entire family.” Expect the Moore campaign to be appalling right to the bitter end.