Roy Moore’s small hometown knew something the rest of us didn’t, in 2012.

In 2012, Bob Vance came within four points of beating Roy Moore in a state-wide race for an Alabama Supreme Court seat. Democrats didn’t run against four of the other judges on the ballot, but they did run against Roy Moore. Because he was considered beatable.

In an interview with POLITICO, Vance described how he almost toppled Moore five years ago: by combining strong turnout from African-Americans energized by President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign with aggressive outreach to what he called “reasonable conservatives” put off by Moore’s hard-line politics — outreach that was unusually successful in Alabama’s most-educated suburbs, according to a POLITICO analysis of the 2012 returns. […]

One of the counties where Vance did that best in 2012 was Moore’s home base, Etowah County, despite it being more blue-collar than other places where Vance ran ahead of Obama. “I just chalked that up to the old adage that familiarity breeds contempt,” said Vance, who now wonders if locals had some inkling about the allegations that women have aired against Moore since then. — www.politico.com/…

The county-seat in Etowah is Gadsden with a population of 35,000. Gadsden is where a number of women have come forward to say Roy Moore targeted them for “dates” when they were teenagers and he was twice their age.

These are the results for the 2012 general election in Etowah county (PDF link):

2012 Democrat Republican
Obama v Romney 12,803 (30.6%) 29,103 (69.4%)
Vance v Moore 19,054 (45.2%) 23,088 (54.8%)

Roy Moore ran almost 15% behind Romney in 2012 in Etowah county.

In Alabama overall, Moore ran less than 10% behind Romney:

2012 Democrat Republican
Obama v Romney 795,696 (38.8%) 1,255,925 (61.2%)
Vance v Moore 977,301 (48.2%) 1,051,627 (51.8%)

There’s an anti-hometown effect at play for Roy Moore. Alabamians like him less than an average run-of-the-mill, establishment, East-Coast, fat-cat Republican like Romney. The people he grew up with, people who knew him best, they liked him even less.

That’s most likely because they went shopping at the mall he was banned from, knew the football games he tried to pick-up high-schoolers at, and saw him creeping at high-school dances as a 32 year old,.

30+ years later, in 2012, 6,000 of those people decided they knew enough about Roy Moore to cross party lines and vote for a Democrat. At the time, Vance was perplexed at why he did so well in Moore’s hometown:

“I just chalked that up to the old adage that familiarity breeds contempt,” said Vance, who now wonders if locals had some inkling about the allegations that women have aired against Moore since then. — www.politico.com/…

Doug Jones has a real chance at beating Roy Moore. Do what you can to help.

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— @subirgrewal