Moore Losing Money Race to Democrat in Alabama Senate Race

(Bloomberg) -- Fundraising by embattled Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore is lagging far behind that of Doug Jones as Democrats flood the Alabama race with money in hopes of stealing a victory in the Dec. 12 special election.

Jones pulled in $8.1 million more than his rival Oct. 1 through Nov. 22, disclosure reports released Monday with the U.S. Senate show.

The Democrat reported $9.8 million in contributions and $8.4 million in spending, while holding $2.5 million in his campaign account for the campaign’s closing days. That compares to fundraising and spending of roughly $1.7 million for Moore, who had $636,046 on hand.

Moore, 70, allegedly initiated a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old, sexually assaulted a 16-year old, and pursued other teenage girls romantically when he was in his 30s. Moore denies the allegations.

Jones had a lead of 3 percentage points over Moore among likely voters -- within the margin of error -- according a poll released Dec. 2 by the Washington Post and the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University.

Trump Endorsement

Early Monday, President Donald Trump formally endorsed Moore. "We need Republican Roy Moore to win in Alabama," he wrote in a tweet.

The White House subsequently confirmed that Trump had spoken to Moore. "The president had a positive call with Judge Roy Moore during which they discussed the state of the Alabama Senate race and the president endorsed Judge Moore’s campaign," Raj Shah, the principal deputy press secretary, said in a statement.

Trump’s move runs counter to many other Republican leaders who have repudiated Moore and called on him to exit the race. The president plans to hold a campaign-style rally on Friday in Pensacola, Florida, near the Alabama border.

Many in the party’s Washington leadership worry Moore could taint 2018 Republican candidates, which is one of the reasons they withdrew support from him days after the allegations surfaced. If Jones were to win in a state that traditionally heavily favors Republicans, Democrats would need to gain just two more seats in 2018 to retake the Senate.

Senate Donations

Moore received a small number of contributions earmarked through the Senate Conservatives Fund and the Club for Growth, the bulk of which came before the first reports of the sexual misconduct allegations. He raised $861,415 from small donors -- those giving $200 or less -- and received $51,950 from political action committees.

Before the allegations surfaced, Moore also received $5,000 from the leadership PACs of Sens. Roy Blunt of Missouri, Mike Lee of Utah and Mitch McConnell, who called for the embattled candidate to withdraw from the race before reversing himself and leaving it up to the people of Alabama. 

Moore’s campaign refunded the donation from the Bluegrass Committee, McConnell’s PAC, on Nov. 21, the filing shows. Moore has run in opposition to the Senate majority leader since McConnell called on him to leave the race.

Small Donors

Jones raised almost $5.8 million from small donors and $150,202 from political action committees. Virtually all of his money during the period was funneled to him through ActBlue, the Democratic online fundraising platform.

Outside groups are also spending on the race. Richard Uihlein, one of the nation’s top donors to conservative candidates and causes, gave $100,000 to the Proven Conservative PAC, which supports Moore, disclosures filed last week show.

That money made Uihlein the group’s top donor and triggered calls from Democrats that other Republicans who have taken Uihlein’s money should return the funds because of the severity of the allegations against Moore.

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