Roy Moore, Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, speaks during a news conference at the Judicial Building in Montgomery, Ala., Wednesday, April 27, 2016. Moore says a judicial ethics panel should dismiss complaints filed against him as he fought to keep gays and lesbians from marrying in the state. (Mickey Welsh/Montgomery Advertiser via AP)
Sex allegations rock Alabama Senate race
02:40 - Source: CNN

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Jones, a 63-year old attorney from Birmingham, has never run for office before

Jones was the lead prosecutor suing KKK members responsible for the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing

Washington CNN  — 

In the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against Republican Alabama Senate hopeful Roy Moore, all eyes are on his Democratic opponent, Doug Jones.

Alabama has long been ruby red, but that could change after The Washington Post reported Thursday about an allegation of sexual abuse against a 14-year-old when he was in his 30s.

Moore denies the allegations, painting it as an attempt by the national Democratic Party to discredit his frontrunning candidacy before his December 12 special election face-off against Jones.

Jones has responded to the allegations made against Moore, issuing a statement to CNN saying, “Roy Moore needs to answer these serious charges.”

Jones, a 63-year-old attorney from Birmingham, has never run for office before. In 2016, Alabama voted for Trump with a 28-point landslide. Alabama has not elected a Democrat to the Senate since Richard Shelby was re-elected in 1992. However, Shelby became a Republican in 1994 and still serves in that seat as a member of the GOP.

In 1997, then-President Bill Clinton named Jones as the United States attorney for the Northern District of Alabama in Birmingham. Five years later in 2002, Jones served as the lead prosecutor in a case against two of the four Ku Klux Klan members responsible for the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in September 1963. This act of racial violence killed four African-American girls during church services. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had called it “one of the most vicious and tragic crimes ever perpetrated against humanity.” 

Jones was also involved in the prosecution of Eric Rudolph, whose 1998 attack on a Birmingham abortion clinic killed an off-duty police officer. Rudolph was sentenced in 2005, after Jones left office.

Referencing his time going after the KKK, Jones wrote a Huffington Post op-ed in September, saying that he does not want to let history repeat itself.

“Sadly, the pattern of violence as a response to hope has reasserted itself,” he wrote. “We saw it in the Charleston church massacre in 2015. We saw it on display in Charlottesville this past August. We’ve seen it in the attacks on mosques and synagogues, and against the LGBT community. We see it in the hostility toward the Latino community. We cannot sweep this violence under the rug. We must address the forces that lead to it and prosecute those who perpetrate such acts,” Jones wrote.

Jones won the Democratic primary in August, defeating seven other candidates and taking home 63.6% of the vote.

Moore, the former Alabama chief justice who beat President Donald Trump-backed candidate Sen. Luther Strange in the primary in September, is known for being anti-establishment. Former Trump aides Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka stumped for him in the days leading up to the runoff, and right-wing favorite Sarah Palin also joined him on the campaign trail.

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to clarify the nature of the legal proceedings in which Jones prosecuted former Ku Klux Klan members.