Sen. Doug Jones (D., Ala.) has just received a primary challenge from Alabama State Representative John Rogers (D., Birmingham), who announced his candidacy during a floor speech on Tuesday.
Rogers, a strident opponent of Alabama's recent pro-life legislation, warned his audience that a new bill protecting unborn children would mean "coat hanger," and "back-alley" abortions, according to live tweets of the speech. Rogers also said that he had raised $500,000 for his challenge to Jones.
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Rogers won’t drop the issue. He’s now giving a speech about "coat hanger," "back-alley" abortions and "damaging" fetuses.
He’s talking about children locked up in chains in a basement in one household (???), arguing abortion would’ve prevented that
— Sean Ross (@sean_yhn) May 7, 2019
Rogers made national headlines when he supported abortion during a May 1 speech, as a bill that makes abortion a felony passed through the House.
"Some kids are unwanted, so you kill them now or you kill them later," Rogers said. "You bring them in the world unwanted, unloved, you send them to the electric chair. So, you kill them now or you kill them later." Rogers continued his speech, saying that abortion prevented "retarded" and "half-deformed" children from coming into the world.
Democrat Alabama State Representative John Rogers advocates for abortion by highlighting "retarded" and "half deformed" babiespic.twitter.com/v6jmWnIbpK
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) May 2, 2019
Donald Trump Jr. criticized Rogers's comments, the State Rep. responded by saying that the president's son should have been aborted. Jones took the side of the Trump family, stating in a tweet that Rogers's comments did not reflect the thoughts of the people of Alabama.
"The rhetoric of Rep. John Rogers gets more appalling each time he speaks. He does not speak for the people of Alabama and is in fact offending all Alabamians with his crude and reprehensible comments," he wrote.
The rhetoric of Rep. John Rogers gets more appalling each time he speaks. He does not speak for the people of Alabama and is in fact offending all Alabamians with his crude and reprehensible comments. https://t.co/ZLI8e83Z2d
— Doug Jones (@DougJones) May 2, 2019
According to Rogers, the two men spoke in phone conversations after the incident, where Jones accused Rogers of making him look bad.
"He said, ‘You’re killing me. You're killing me. Stop talking.' He said they were attacking him. I said, ‘Why [are] they attacking [you]? I'm the one who said it,'" Rogers told AL.com. "He said he’d have to come out against me. I said, ‘Fine, do what you got to do.'"
Rogers added that Jones called him again, this time "hollering and shouting," which Rogers said prompted him to begin considering a primary challenge.
"I don’t shuffle," he said. "The last people [who] yelled at me were my mother and father. I said, ‘Bye. You can’t apologize for me. You attack me, I’ll attack you.' That’s when I hung up on him. He ain't go holler at me."
During his speech on Tuesday, Rogers reportedly told Jones to "stick it where the sun don't shine," and that, if in a fight he would "knock your eyeballs out."
"I don't comment on any potential opponents," Jones told AL.com, after Rogers revealed the content of their phone calls.