Last week, Alabama State Rep. John Rogers (D) made national headlines with his coarse language criticizing an effort by the Alabama legislature to criminalize abortion, an effort some Republicans viewed as the best way to challenge the 1972 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in federal court.
In those remarks, Rogers argued that some kids were “unwanted,” adding that “you kill them now or you kill them later.”
“You bring them in the world unwanted, unloved, you send them to the electric chair,” the Alabama Democrat said. “So, you kill them now or you kill them later.”
He also described some facing an abortion as “retarded” and “half-deformed.”
On Tuesday, Rogers announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate. The seat is currently occupied by Sen. Doug Jones (R-AL), and Jones would be Rogers’ opponent in a 2020 Democratic senatorial primary.
“I am now a candidate for United States Senate,” Rogers said on the floor of the Alabama State House of Representatives. “I’ve already, I’ve got – I’m running for real. I’m not backing down. I’m a candidate. I’ve already – I asked them to give me $1,000,000 [in campaign pledges to be able to run] and already $500,000 have come in already. And so if I get $500,000 [more], I’ll be an official candidate. I’m telling you right now.”
Rogers and Jones have a history that dates back several years. Rogers was a client of Jones when he was practicing law in Alabama.
Jones both privately and publicly condemned Rogers for his remarks, first in a private phone call obtained by Birmingham, AL-based Yellowhammer News, and later publicly in a statement to reporters.
“I thought it was outrageous. I was absolutely appalled,” Jones said in his statement. “I didn’t see that until this morning. I have known Representative Rogers for a long, long time. I think he owes an apology to the people of the state. I think he owes an apology to members of the legislature. That is one of the problems with discussing these types of issues, people get emotional and people tend not to respect each other’s opinions as much, and you end up with comments like this. It is very, very unfortunate and I condemn it in the strongest possible terms.”
The winner of a potential Jones and Rogers Democratic primary will face the Republican nominee, which as of Wednesday is a field that included U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL), former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville and Alabama State Rep. Arnold Mooney (R).
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor