Retired USMC Colonel Lee Busby told the Washington Post that he planned to challenge Democratic candidate Doug Jones and Republican Roy Moore for Alabama’s open seat in the Senate. He has launched a website counting down to the Dec. 12 special election in which he plans to feature as a write-in candidate. Busby once served as an aide to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who is a retired Marine general.

Busby (60), a resident of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, told the Washington Post on Monday that sexual misconduct allegations being leveled at Moore are an opportunity. “I think you can flip this thing. If this were a military operation, the left flank and the right flank are heavily guarded,” Busby said. “I think that gives you an opportunity to run straight up the middle.”

Busby oversaw the Marine Forces Reserve while serving as vice chief of staff to Kelly, who was then a three-star lieutenant general. Busby, who retired in 2013, has focused since then on his art as a sculptor.

President Donald Trump blasted Jones in a Sunday tweet that indirectly lent support to Moore. However, Trump does not currently plant to visit Alabama to stump for Moore. He tweeted: “I endorsed Luther Strange in the Alabama Primary. He shot way up in the polls but it wasn’t enough. Can’t let Schumer/Pelosi win this race. Liberal Jones would be BAD!” he wrote.

A series of allegations have emerged that link Moore to alleged sexual misconduct. The veracity of those allegation has been questioned while Moore has vocally denounced them. Busby told Buzzfeed: “I have no idea if the allegations against him true or not, but I don’t see anything within his experience as a judge that qualifies him for the job.” He added, "As a voter, I don't need to get to the bottom of it." Referring to Jones, Busby said that the people of Alabama do not wish to be "represented by someone who supports a liberal abortion policy." Busby said, "I'm extremely concerned about the Democratic Party in Alabama. I don't think they reflect Alabama's views." However, Busby has admitted to attending at least one fundraiser for Jones.

Busby has cited the allegations against Moore for creating "enough distaste in my mind” to rule out support for the Republican candidate. 

A Raycom News Network survey found that only three percent of Alabama voters plan to write in a candidate for the Alabama Senate race.

The current polling average posted by Real Clear Politics shows that Moore and Jones are tied.  Moore garnered 46.0 percent, while Jones came in with 46.8. On November 10, those averages were 47 percent and 42.3 percent, respectively. Alabama Today reported on November 22 on a poll by Sky Research, which indicated Moore had 46.7 percent of voter support compared to Jones’ 39.6 percent. Undecided came in at 13.7 percent. The poll was conducted on November 21 and had a margin of error of 3.1 percent.

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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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