Alabama Sen. Doug Jones, the first Democratic senator elected in the Yellowhammer State in 25 years, will campaign today with U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in Pensacola.
“Bill fights for the people of Florida every day and I am honored to join him to support his re-election so we can continue to work together to protect our Gulf beaches from oil, push for affordable health care, and support public education,” Jones said.
Jones won one of the most shocking special elections of the last year when he defeated Republican Roy Moore in December. His candidacy got a lift from sexual misconduct allegations against Moore from when he was in his 30s.
Before winning the Senate seat, Jones was best known for prosecuting Klu Klux Klan members responsible for a bombing in 1963 that killed four young girls.
Nelson’s tight re-election battle with Republican challenger and two-term Gov. Rick Scott sure drew the unlikely Democratic star to the Panhandle but he also said he wants to raise attention of an oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico that has quietly become an environmental disaster after discharging for 14 years.
Nelson’s camp touted the senator’s opposition to offshore oil drilling in a press release announcing Jones’ appearance.
“Keeping oil drilling away from Florida’s famous beaches is one of Nelson’s key legislative accomplishments,” the release reads. “He co-wrote the 2006 law that currently bans drilling as far out as 235 miles off Florida’s Gulf coast.”
Jones and Nelson have both campaigned as bipartisan leaders willing to work across the aisle. Pensacola, of course, lies just 15 miles from the Alabama state line.
But right now, the Panhandle region remains a sensitive campaign ground, still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Michael. The region also reliably trends Republican in statewide elections.