Senate candidates urging supporters to get out the vote

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Candidates are scattered throughout the state campaigning on this final weekend before the primary.

After months of campaigning, after attack ads back and forth, after endorsements coming from the current presidential administration as well as the one that just left office, it's come down to this:

Getting voters to the polls.

The Democratic and Republican primaries are Tuesday in the Senate special election and the focus has shifted to where it always does in the final days of any campaign.

"We are working very hard on our get-out-the-vote efforts," U.S. Sen. Luther Strange said. "Our focus is going to be reminding people to vote and getting out our voters."

For Strange to make that point underscores the basic fundamental of all elections. He received perhaps the holy grail of endorsements earlier this week when President Trump gave Strange his stamp of approval. Yet the need to encourage supporters to go vote remains.

On the Democratic side, former U.S. attorney Doug Jones this week picked up the public backing of both former Vice President Joe Biden as well as U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell. On Saturday, Jones held a rally in Birmingham where Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan delivered a message of support.

"I believe if we don't focus like a laser beam as Democrats on the economic issues that are pressing these families, we're not going to be able to win," Ryan said at the rally. "What I like about Doug and why I wanted to come and be helpful is because that's what he's talking about.

"We have got to figure out how to get this economy working for every single family from coast to coast, north to south. And that's what this is about."

Polling continues to indicate that candidate supporters should be motivated to cast their ballots. The Trafalgar Group released a poll Friday on the GOP primary that showed former Alabama chief justice Roy Moore continues to lead a splintered field.

The poll, conducted earlier this week with 1,439 respondents of likely primary voters, also showed that Strange is maintaining about a 3-point edge on Brooks - close to the poll's margin of error of 2.59 percent.

Hours before Trump's endorsement, Brooks told supporters at a rally in Huntsville that internal polling indicated he had moved ahead of Strange.

"Brooks had momentum and we believe short of Trump's endorsement tweet, Brooks would have overtaken Strange for second place," Robert C. Cahaly, senior strategist for Trafalgar, said in a statement accompanying the poll. "Of course, last-minute campaign activity and presidential tweets could change this thing again."

On the Democratic side, polling has been sparse - perhaps because the seat is expected to remain Republican no matter who the nominee is due to the state's overwhelming GOP-leaning electorate.

A poll last month by Raycom News and Mobile-based Strategy Research showed Robert Kennedy Jr. - no relation to the legendary Massachusetts Democratic clan of the same name - grabbing 49 percent of the vote while Jones had 28 percent of the vote.

Candidates are scattered throughout the state campaigning on this final weekend before the primary.

Strange is campaigning in Cleburne and Calhoun counties Saturday  while Moore will be visiting churches on Sunday and speaking in Shelby County on Monday.

Brooks was in Baldwin County on Saturday before speaking in Birmingham and Decatur on Monday in wrapping up his statewide bus tour.

State Sen. Trip Pittman, a longshot GOP candidate - based on polling - spent his 57th birthday visiting with voters at the USS Alabama in Mobile at the famed battleship's 75th anniversary.

Meanwhile, social media is littered with campaign ads and robocalls to potential voters are also active. Lighting that spark of enthusiasm to make the effort to vote may make the difference in who finishes in the top two in each primary to secure a spot in the Sept. 26 runoff.

A runoff is firmly expected in the GOP primary while it appears likely as well in the Democratic primary with eight candidates on the ballot.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, the state's top election official, said he expects a turnout of about 20 to 25 percent of registered voters. That's lower than the typical election cycle primary that attracts more than 30 percent of the electorate.

"It's going to come down to turnout," Brooks said.

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Article Senate candidates urging supporters to get out the vote compiled by www.al.com

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