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Turner told Sullivan "I would have bullet holes in my windows" if he ran a strong anti-Moore editorial like that published last month by the state's three largest papers, all owned by Newhouse-owned Alabama Media Group, in Birmingham, Mobile and Huntsville. And it's not just the public Turner has to deal with: His own staff has mixed opinions about Moore, who is accused of sexual misconduct against teenage girls and has a statewide following from his controversial career on the Alabama Supreme Court, from which he was ousted twice. "Not everyone is convinced," Sullivan reports.
Turner published a nuanced editorial last month in which he called for Moore to withdraw from the race -- not because the accusations against him were necessarily accurate, but because he believed Moore could not be an effective senator with so much controversy hanging over his head. Withdrawing would enable the state Republican Party to find a more credible candidate before the special election on Dec. 12.
The News' publisher, Rex Maynor, said Turner's editorial was "one of the strongest stances the paper has taken." Turner told her, “At the big papers, they don’t go into the coffee shops and churches with their readers like we do. We have to be strategic crusaders.”
Moore is from Gadsden, in northeast Alabama. Thirty miles to the south, in Anniston, the locally owned and usually liberal Anniston Star published an editorial Nov. 20 criticizing Republican Gov. Kay Ivey for supporting Moore. Its most recent editorial urged voters to ignore the national turmoil about Moore and "consider what our state needs."