Sen. Jones, who serves as the first Alabama Democrat in more than two decades to get elected to the Senate, is one of the most vulnerable Democrats up for reelection in 2020.
The Alabama Democrat narrowly defeated Senate Republican candidate Roy Moore in 2017 and represents a state that went for President Donald Trump by nearly 28 percentage points during the 2016 presidential election.
Jones’s narrow election to the U.S. Senate has put pressure on him to vote against convicting President Trump during an upcoming impeachment trial.
Sen. Jones remains undecided on an impeachment trial but suggested in an interview with ABC News that he would vote to clear the president if he believes there is insufficient evidence to convict him.
He said, “I’m trying to see if the dots get connected. If that is the case, then…I think it’s an impeachable matter. But if those dots aren’t connected, and there are other explanations that I think are consistent with innocence, I will go that way, too.”
NBC News interviewed more than 20 Alabama residents and found that voting to clear the president could alienate Sen. Jones’s Democrat base.
Rasif Ratani, a student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said, “Anyone who doesn’t go for Donald Trump’s impeachment just shouldn’t be in office.” Ratani added that he might not vote for the Alabama Democrat if he votes against impeachment.
Sen. Jones faces a difficult decision to back impeachment, considering that a recent poll found that although a majority of Alabamians oppose impeachment, many of his supporters support it.
JMC Polling contended that then-candidate Jones won the 2017 general election with “robust black turnout.” However, the poll also found that 73 percent of black Alabamians and 67 percent of other minorities support the impeachment of Donald Trump, while only 26 percent of white Alabamians oppose impeaching Trump.
Sen. Jones’s indecision on impeachment follows Sen. David Perdue’s (R-GA) comment last week that a “couple” of Senate Democrats might vote to acquit President Trump during a Senate impeachment trial.
The Georgia conservative said, “I think we might have a couple. I don’t want to speculate on who — obviously that puts too much pressure on them — but I really think we have people on both sides that are trying to get to a reasonable, nonpartisan answer.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) recently echoed Sen. Perdue’s sentiment in which he said that Democrats remain divided on impeachment.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if we got one or two Democrats. It looks to me over in the House, the Republicans seem to be solid, and the Democrats seem to be divided,” the Kentucky Republican said.