Joe Mathieu: You're listening to WGBH's Morning Edition. The Alabama Senate race is reaching the finish line as voters hit the polls today to decide between Republican Roy Moore, who’s of course been in the headlines a lot lately after several sexual assault allegations surfaced, and Democrat Doug Jones, who we've heard less about around here in Massachusetts. Someone who knows him well, though, is Don Stern, former U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts. He and Jones both served as U.S. attorneys in their respective states under President Bill Clinton. And Mr. Stern is in Birmingham right now. Good morning and welcome to WGBH’s Morning Edition.

Don Stern: Thanks, Joe. Glad to be here.

JM: Want to hear more about what's happening in Alabama. You've witnessed the campaign frenzy. You've been to some campaign stops. What's the mood there?

DS: Well, there's a buzz. There's a sense of excitement, and I've been with Doug and black churches in Birmingham and in rallies where it's mostly a white audience and in Montgomery, and there’s definitely a buzz. You know one of the things that Doug is doing — and I've heard him speak in a couple of different events now — is to keep it local. I mean, we outside of Alabama understand and appreciate that this is a nationally significant election, that it means a lot, but what he keeps on reminding people about is that this is about the values for the people of Alabama. This is about jobs and health care and education in Alabama. So, you know, there's a big picture that you and I and others are probably looking at, but he's trying to appeal to the best, the best, really, of the Alabama people, and I think it's working. I have to say I'm cautiously optimistic that, you know, he's going to ride to victory today.

JM: It seems like a scandal surrounding Roy Moore has sucked the oxygen out of the room for Doug Jones — we know less about him because we're hearing so much about Roy Moore.

DS: You know, I think there's some truth to that. On the national stage, you know the national reporters and the national media tend to focus on that. I think that — the sense that I get is that the people in Alabama are less focused on that. I think they know Doug Jones. Doug Jones has been — has record to run on in Alabama. He’s been a civil rights lawyer, he's been a U.S. attorney, he's been a federal prosecutor. So when people outside say things like, you know “he's soft on crime,” I just don't ... I do not think that works. I think they know who Doug Jones is and they know his values. Now having said that, you know, I'm sitting now in a state that hasn't voted for a Democrat on the statewide election in probably 30 years or so. So it's a tough haul, there's no question about it, but he's getting support in the black community, h'es getting support in the white community, and we'll see what happens.

JM: What do you make of the fact that our Republican governor here in Massachusetts has endorsed the Democrat in Alabama?

DS: Well I think one of the biggest things here is that Sen. Shelby, who is a conservative Republican in Alabama, has served many terms in the Senate in Alabama, has basically said he can't vote for Roy Moore. Now he hasn't said he's going to vote for Doug Jones, he's written in a candidate on the Republican side. But that speaks volumes. So I'm not surprised that our governor, [a] Republican, would say he would support Doug more, but to the people of Alabama, it matters less what Charlie Baker thinks than what with Sen. Shelby thinks.

JM: So is Doug Jones going to win?

DS:  I'm going to say yes, but you know … it's a risky proposition to make a prediction because the polls are all over the lot and I don't think they are very predictable. But I have to say, you know, I've been here since Saturday and I do sense a certain buzz and excitement in the in the Jones camp.

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