Doug Jones is pictured. | Getty Images

Alabama Democratic senatorial nominee Doug Jones takes a group picture with Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Alabama Democratic U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (3rd from Right) and supporters during a campaign event held at Alabama State University on Dec. 9. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

SELMA, Ala. — Democrat Doug Jones needs African-American voters to turn out in big numbers for him to have a shot at beating Roy Moore in Tuesday’s Alabama Senate election.

So the former U.S. attorney brought in two of his most prominent surrogates on Saturday to help: New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

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Their message, amid fears of lagging enthusiasm among black voters and polls showing a neck-and-neck race between Jones and Moore, was that there is no simply excuse for not voting in this election.

“I know you all made, already, a million phone calls, but I’m here to try to get some folk woke,” said Booker, addressing a crowd of roughly 200 at Alabama State University in Montgomery, three hours after Patrick appeared with Jones in Selma. “Some people don’t understand: the opposite of justice is not injustice. It is inaction and indifference.”

“Bad people get elected when good people don’t vote,” Booker added.

After rallying with former Vice President Joe Biden — a potential 2020 White House contender, like Booker and Patrick — early in the race, Jones has avoided bringing in high-profile national Democrats to back him. He and his allies on the ground here are wary of associating with the national Democratic brand, which is toxic in the state Donald Trump won by 28 points in 2016.

But Alabama Rep. Terri Sewell, the only Democrat in the state’s congressional delegation, has been helping Jones for months, and she called in both Booker and Patrick for the closing stretch.

Booker, for one, has gone after Moore in addition to boosting Jones. Early on Saturday, he tweeted that he doesn’t “want to be next to [Moore] wondering if Senate Pages will be safe from [his] advances,” referring to allegations of Moore’s sexual misconduct against minors.

In his brief remarks, Patrick stuck to outlining a broader case for Jones.

“We need more integrity, more grace, more patience, more understanding, and better listening in all of our leaders at every level of government, but especially in Washington,” Patrick said, standing next to Jones, Sewell, and Selma Mayor Darrio Melton. “Alabama has a chance to regain its voice for integrity and grace, its patience and listening, its willingness to hear all sides and a chance to do what’s right for the good of the whole.”

Jones need high participation among black voters who are infuriated not only by Moore — who was twice removed from the state Supreme Court and has a history of incendiary remarks about minorities — but by Trump. The president appeared just across the border in Pensacola, Florida on Friday, encouraging Alabamians to support Moore. Then, on Saturday, he agreed to cut a robocall for his fellow Republican.

Speaking to reporters next to Patrick outside the Brown Chapel AME Church, where they had just been greeting voters in Selma, Jones insisted he wasn’t concerned about a lack of enthusiasm among black voters. He also dismissed the idea that the state’s Democrats had been taking African-American voters for granted.

“I feel very, very comfortable that we’ve been reaching everybody, and I want to make sure everyone understands this is not just a question about African-American voters, this election is about everybody in the state,” he said. “So while we’re reaching out to the African-American community here in Selma and elsewhere, we’re reaching out with the same messages to everyone else.”

Jones’ campaign has revolved largely around his prosecution of the Ku Klux Klan members who firebombed the 16th Street Baptist Church and killed four African American girls in 1963. On Saturday, Booker made that case part of his closing argument for Jones.

“Alabama, we are a great state and a great people, and everyone deserves justice, so when he went back and prosecuted the case of the girls who died in the 16th Street Baptist Church, he did not just honor our ancestors” said Booker, noting he has family roots in the state. “He told the world who Alabama is.”



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