Alabama Senate candidates face off in exclusive interviews

National

ALABAMA (WRBL) – Less than two weeks away from the November election, there’s a showdown brewing in the Yellow Hammer state.

Alabama’s U.S. Senate seat is up for grabs and incumbent Doug Jones (D-Ala.) and former Auburn Football coach Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) have spent the 2020 election season pushing for votes on Nov. 3.

Both candidates have launched campaign attacks targeting each other in recent weeks. News 3 got exclusive interviews with both candidates to get their stances on the key issues affecting Alabama.

Both candidates talk U.S. healthcare

Jones has focused on healthcare during the campaign and during his two years in office. The senator says the COVID-19 pandemic has made the issue even more pressing for Alabama residents.

I don’t think there is any question that COVID is going to be an issue. But it is also related to an issue that was going to be on the ballot anyway. And that’s healthcare. And that is the Affordable Care Act. And the obstruction that the Administration and others – including Tommy Tuberville – are trying to destroy the Affordable Care Act…The 957,000 people in Alabama that have preexisting conditions that their healthcare is going to be in jeopardy. The kids up to age 26 that are on their parents’ healthcare plan that is going to be in jeopardy. Those lower drug prices for seniors that is going to be in jeopardy. The 150,000 to 200,000 people who get the tax credits and subsidies, all of that is in jeopardy. Now that we have put the spotlight on our healthcare. And I think people understand and realize that my health is dependent on yours. Yours is dependent on mine and we have to do a better job in Alabama and across the country in investing in our healthcare. So, it was always going to be on the ballot. The COVID crisis has made it front and center.

Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.)

One of Jones’s recent campaign ads featured Dr. David White, a physician practicing in Phenix City, Ala. and Columbus, Ga. White backs Jones up on his support of the Affordable Care Act.

Meanwhile, Tommy Tuberville says the ACA is anything but affordable, with high premiums and co-pays crushing families’ pocketbooks.

Tuberville says that under the ACA, his monthly health care costs increased by $1300, and other families are struggling too. Having said that, Tuberville does support protecting key components of the legislation.

The Republican Party in this country want to keep 26 years old to stay on your healthcare if you’re in college or whatever and pre-existing conditions we as Republicans want that. Two months ago, Rick Scott of Florida put the bill back on the floor. It was getting ready to go through in terms of being able to vote on it. One guy blocked it and his name was Doug Jones from Alabama. He went on the Senate floor saying we are not going to have this, we are going to block it and the Democrats turn around and say it’s the Republicans who don’t want to have it. The Democrats are playing two-faced. We need to take Obamacare and cut it out, but keep pre-existing conditions and the 26-years-old, cause I’ve got good friends and family that have pre-existing conditions; you do, everybody does. We don’t need to kick them off our health care.

Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.)

Tuberville says the ACA is socialized medicine, and the cost is too high for Alabama families and reduces the quality of healthcare services.

After the story aired, the Jones campaign disputed the Tuberville version of events.

“The vote he’s citing flat did not happen,” a Jones campaign spokesperson said.

Jones and Tuberville talk lack of public debate

The Doug Jones and Tommy Tuberville debate is a no-go. Tuberville says his focus is meeting with voters one-on-one, saying Jones should get out from behind his desk and do the same.

Meanwhile, Sen. Jones says they should go head to head so voters can see the difference, but says that the Coach Tuberville is ducking him.

If you have listened to his non-answers that he gives, he doesn’t know the issues. He doesn’t have the experience. So, I am not surprised a bit. If you can’t give a straight answer about the issues that are facing Americans and Alabamians today, if you can’t give a straight answer about what you are going to do for healthcare, how you would handle the pandemic, what you are going to do to bring jobs, how you are going to protect our nation’s security from external interference like Russia and China. What are you going to do to build up the national security? If you can’t answer those questions, I sure as heck wouldn’t go on the debate stage with somebody who knows what they are talking about. So, I am not surprised a bit. I think he’s not just a quitter, he’s pretty much a coward when it comes down to this.

Sen. Jones (D-Ala.)

Tuberville instead criticized the digs at his lack of experience and accusations of cowardice.

He wants to get me on a stage to debate him? I say I know the issues a lot more than him.  I want him to tell me that to my face cause you have seen some of my commercials, I’ll fight.  That’s the reason I am running, I am going to fight for Alabama and this country and I don’t know what he is fighting for, he is fighting for the socialist left and we are not going to send him back up there. He has been an embarrassment to this state and he has been an embarrassment to freedom and liberty, he is for abortion, he is against guns, and he voted against Kavanaugh, and he won’t even meet with Barrett. He voted twice to impeach President Trump and that is game, set, match.

Candidate Tuberville, (R-Ala.)

Polling indicates this is Tuberville’s race to lose, he’s enjoying a comfortable lead over Senator Jones. But, polling is a tricky business.

The senator’s campaign says their internal numbers how Jones up by a point. We’ll have to wait and see how the numbers play out on Election day.

Both candidates talk Trump, Biden, and November 3

One of the most glaring differences between Tuberville and jones is their position on President Donald Trump, specifically his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tuberville has backed President Trump from day one, even before he ascended to the White house. He was even endorsed by the president in the Alabama primary against Jeff Sessions.

President Trump inherited a country that was a mess. He got us back on our feet, he lowered taxes, lowered regulations he is building the wall. He is going to make this country stronger and stronger. He is going to continue to do it in 13 more days and the left can’t stand it. They want socialism they don’t want capitalism. They want to take our taxes and raise them 15, 20, 30-percent. Joe Biden does not have a magic wand. We don’t need to change administrations in the middle of this pandemic to think this group on the left has the answers. They do not. President Trump has worked in this for six months and we need to continue on this path to get this vaccine and find a way to cure it once we get it. And uh, it’s gotten better and better. Has it been perfect? No, I mean you are going to make mistakes and we have made some, but we have made some good decisions.

Candidate Tuberville, (R-Ala.)

Tuberville credits the president with pushing the private sector in developing a vaccine. Tuberville supports Alabama’s mask mandate, saying masking, social distancing, and hand washing are vital until a vaccine is ready.

While Tuberville is all in with Trump, Jones is critical of the way the president has handled the COVID crisis. He also says the president’s demeanor is not the way things are done in Alabama.

Of course, he’s a factor. The top of the ticket is always a factor. But I think it’s both good and bad. I think President Trump has done some really good things for Alabama. But, by in large, I think people are very concerned about the way he has handled this COVID crisis. We have 280,000 people across the country who have died. In Alabama, our numbers are stabilized. I don’t think anybody can realistically look somebody in the eyes and say that he’s done a good job of leading through this crisis. He has done some other things. I don’t think people are comfortable with his mannerisms, with his bullying and his name calling. That is just not something we do in Alabama. That is just not the way we were brought up and the way we were raised. That’s not the Alabama that I know. … We should have moved away from all of the divisive rhetoric. Yes, he’s going to be a factor in the race. There is no question. We have always known that. But I think it cuts both ways in this particular election right now.

Sen. Jones, (D-Ala.)

In the past, Jones has predicted a Biden General Election victory, while Tuberville predicts President Trump will win this election by more votes than he did in 2016.

Click here to see both full, raw interviews with the two candidates.

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