Cook Political Report Shifts Alabama Senate Race to Lean Republican After Doug Jones Votes to Convict
“Jones’s electoral prognosis was grim even before he announced today he will indeed vote to convict and remove President Trump in the Senate impeachment trial.”
Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) was already facing reelection challenges for next fall, but things just got a lot harder for him. As a Democrat, Jones lucked into this job in Trump country. He might not have it for much longer.
The Cook Political Report has now shifted the race to lean Republican.
Jessica Taylor reports:
Alabama Senate Moves From Toss Up to Lean Republican
Alabama Democratic Senator Doug Jones was always going to be the most endangered incumbent in 2020. He narrowly won a 2017 special election over Roy Moore, the deeply flawed and controversial GOP nominee, and has had a target on his back ever since. But the perfect storm that helped Jones become the first Democratic senator Alabama had elected in a quarter-century won’t be replicated this November.
Yes, Moore — who faced allegations of sexual misconduct toward teenage girls from decades earlier that surfaced during the race — is running again. But the former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice is now persona non grata within Republican circles after losing and has virtually no chance of winning the nomination. The March 3 primary looks to be coming down to former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whose vacancy of this seat led to Jones’s victory in the first place, with former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville and Rep. Bradley Byrne fighting for a slot in the runoff. We’ll have more analysis on that primary in next week’s newsletter.
Jones’s electoral prognosis was grim even before he announced today he will indeed vote to convict and remove President Trump in the Senate impeachment trial. That’s not a winning vote to take in a state Trump carried by 28 points four years ago, will easily win again this year and remains incredibly popular in. Our analysis that this race is moving away from Jones, no matter what he does, solely on the fundamentals would have been the same had he voted to acquit Trump.
Retaking this seat will make it easier for Republicans to retain control of the Senate, so this is great news. There are some vulnerable races, after all.
Bridget Bowman of Roll Call seems to agree with the Cook Political Report in suggesting that Jones was in trouble no matter what he did about impeachment:
Doug Jones, facing ‘lose-lose’ situation, opts to convict Trump
Long before the impeachment process began, Sen. Doug Jones was considered the most vulnerable senator in 2020. The Alabama Democrat’s vote Wednesday to remove President Donald Trump from office doesn’t change that.
Jones, a former prosecutor, said that after “many sleepless nights,” he concluded that Trump abused his power by pressuring the Ukrainian president to investigate Democrats, including former Vice President Joe Biden, and that Trump obstructed Congress’ investigations of those allegations. The Senate later voted Wednesday to acquit Trump on both impeachment charges.
Operatives in both parties said Jones’ decision does not fundamentally alter the headwinds he faces in 2020 as a Democrat running for reelection in a state Trump carried by 28 points in 2016.
Multiple Republicans are vying for the position, including Jeff Sessions, who held the office before joining the Trump administration.
James Varney reports at the Washington Times:
Bradley Byrne, Tommy Tuberville ramp up efforts against Jeff Sessions in Alabama Senate race
Jeff Sessions appears to have the inside lane to claim the GOP nomination for his old Senate seat in Alabama, but the other Republicans in the race are ramping up their efforts with less than a month to go before the vote.
Republican Rep. Bradley Byrne announced he’s got $2 million, while political newcomer Tommy Tuberville released an ad showing him from his days as a football coach at Auburn University, yelling at a referee so vociferously that an assistant had to restrain him.
He calls himself “a politician’s worst nightmare,” and vows to be a loyal foot soldier for President Trump.
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