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Polls Indicate Uncertainty In Alabama Senate Election

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Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones. [CBS News] Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones. [CBS News]
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -

Alabama voters will be heading to the polls Tuesday to fill the seat left vacant by current U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Republican Roy Moore is facing off against Democrat Doug Jones. 

Jones is hoping to become the state's first Democratic senator in two decades.

Allegations of sexual misconduct aside, President Trump used a robocall to Alabama voters to tell them he badly needs Roy Moore's vote in the U.S. Senate.

Former President Obama and his vice president, Joe Biden, recorded calls for Jones seeking to break the GOP's lock on statewide office in Alabama.

Voting begins at 8 a.m. ET and close at 8 p.m. ET.

On election eve, Moore called in to a conservative talk radio show in Alabama to lament the tone of the campaign and portray cast himself as the victim of the sexual misconduct allegations.

"We've seen things happen in this campaign that I can't believe to this day," said Moore, who has denied all wrongdoing in contacts with the women who said he behaved inappropriately when they were in their teens and he was a local prosecutor in his 30s. One said he initiated sexual contact when she was 14.

"It's just been hard, a hard campaign," said Moore, a former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice who was twice removed from that post for violating judicial ethics.

At an evening rally in the state's rural southeast, Moore told voters, "If you don't believe in my character, don't vote for me."

Alabama has been a solidly Republican state for years, and Moore said he is much more in tune with the issues that matter to voters and to the president.

Jones acknowledged Monday in Montgomery, "Look, I'm not going to be the senator that everybody in the state can agree with 100 percent of the time." But he added: "They'll know I'm somebody that will sit down with them. I will learn from them. ... I will try to be the public servant I think a U.S. senator ought to be."

Former professional basketball star Charles Barkley, speaking at a Jones rally Monday night, urged voters not to embarrass his home state by electing Moore. "I love Alabama, but at some point we've got to draw a line in the sand and say, 'We're not a bunch of damn idiots,'" Barkley said.

Voters seemed as divided as ever, including young Alabamians, some going to the polls for the first time.

For Alabama Democrats, the special election is viewed as a chance to renounce a history littered with politicians whose race-baiting, bombast and other baggage have long soiled the state's reputation.

Many Republicans see the vote as an opportunity to ratify their conservative views -- referred to by Moore as "Alabama values" -- and protect Trump's agenda ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. But the sexual allegations have dented some of that support. Sen. Richard Shelby said "I think the Republican Party can do better," and he wrote in another Republican's name.

The two candidates have taken very different approaches to campaigning, with Jones holding events regularly and Moore popping up only occasionally in small churches, rallies or in interviews with friendly media.

Democrats don't hold a single statewide office in Alabama, and both houses of the Legislature are controlled by the GOP.

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