Former Vice President Joe Biden returned to the trail on Tuesday for an old friend in an unexpected place — and predicted a huge political upset in crimson red Alabama.
Biden stumped for former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones (D), who he’s known for decades, the first major surrogate to swing into the state in a budding effort to stop controversial former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore (R) from joining the Senate.
“When he wins this race it will send ripples throughout the country,” the former vice president predicted to raucous cheers. “But don’t do it for that reason. Do it for Alabama.”
Democrats are debating whether to heavily invest in Jones, who’s best known for successfully prosecuting Ku Klux Klan members who firebombed a Birmingham black church and killed four little girls decades after the murders, against Moore, best known for twice being thrown off the Alabama Supreme Court for rejecting the rule of law and defying higher court orders on gay marriage and a Ten Commandments statue.
Jones gave them another reason to take a close look on Tuesday with a rousing speech.
“They have told me time and again that this race is a long shot. Well, folks … when you are on the right side of history and the right side of justice you can do anything,” he declared.
Biden talked up Jones’ character in the speech before the big upset prediction.
“I can count on two hands the people I’ve campaigned for that have as much integrity, as much courage,” he said, saying Jones “helped remove 40 years of stain and pain from this state” with his KKK prosecution.
“This state has changed. Doug said no more. The Klan needed to know that justice would follow them to the gates of hell if need be,” he said before calling Moore an “extremist.”
Early polling of the race suggests Moore begins it with a single-digit lead — not a huge one, especially given how conservative Alabama is. Moore won his last statewide election with just 51 percent of the vote.