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Exclusive: Trump allies pressure Jones on Pompeo vote

By TODD STACY, Alabama Daily News

U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-Alabama) has not said how he’ll vote on the confirmation of Mike Pompeo as Secretary State, but now he’s getting some help in making that decision thanks to a new effort to sway him.

45Committee, a non-profit political action group that supports and promotes President Donald Trump’s initiatives, has launched a campaign in Alabama to influence Jones to vote for Pompeo’s confirmation.

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The group’s television ad, “Distinguished,” extols Pompeo’s national security record and reminds viewers that he already received confirmation as CIA Director last year.

“Last year a bi-partisan majority of U.S. Senators voted to confirm Mike Pompeo as CIA Director, praising his experience and distinguished career in public service,” a female narrator says. “Now President Trump has nominated Pompeo to be Secretary of State.”

“Urge Senator Doug Jones to vote ‘yes’ for Mike Pompeo,” the ad concludes with a picture of Jones and the phone number to his Senate office.

Brian Baker, President of 45Committee, said the ad is designed to help educate Alabamians about Jones’ role in the confirmation process and encourage them to engage with him.

“Senator Doug Jones can prove himself to be a pragmatic, independent thinker by supporting Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State. In his Army, congressional and CIA service, Pompeo has shown the strength and judgment to help keep America safe. We hope Senator Jones joins with his senior colleague, Richard Shelby, in voting to confirm Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State.”

Pompeo’s nomination has faced stiff opposition from Senate Democrats, who have criticized everything from Pompeo’s pro-life record in Congress to his reputation as a defense hawk. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which has handled the nomination, is set to vote Monday night and might not approve Pompeo.

That actually would not stop the nomination from being taken up on the Senate floor. The vote margin in the full Senate would be slim, especially with Republican Sen. Rand Paul opposing Pompeo’s nomination. The White House and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell might need to court votes from red state Democrats, like Jones.

Accompanying the ads are a series of “patch-through” robo-calls. That’s when an operator calls to tell constituents about an important issue facing Congress and asks if they’d like to be connected to their congressman or senator. Constituents are then “patched through” directly to the office to voice their opinion.

Done well, a patch-through campaign can be effective in getting an senator’s or congressman’s attention. They can also be annoying for Capitol Hill staffers, who get swarmed by hundreds of calls, many times from confused constituents who think the senator or congressman called them.

So, no matter how Jones ultimately votes, it’s going to be a long week on the phones for Sen. Jones’ staff members.

Attempts to reach Jones’ spokeswoman by email and phone for a reaction were unsuccessful.

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