Wow! What a finish to our U.S. Senate primary elections last week. Despite a general lack of enthusiasm among Alabama voters, a light turnout of partisan voters came out to choose nominees for the Democratic and Republican Parties.
In the end, Democrats overwhelming chose Doug Jones to represent the party in the December 12th General Election. Jones, is a former U.S. Attorney for Alabama.
His victory without a runoff in a crowded field comes as a surprise for many as he trailed Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in every poll. In fact, most polls showed Kennedy winning the nomination without a runoff.
That prospect woke up many sleepy Democrats and resulted in Jones winning every major Democratic endorsement and ultimately the nomination.
On the Republican side, major business leaders are breathing a sigh of relief that sitting Senator Luther Strange managed to place second in the Republican primary, forcing former Chief Justice Roy Moore into a runoff election.
The runoff is scheduled for September 26th and should prove to be a real cat fight with big money Republicans battling it out with social conservatives and evangelicals supporting Moore.
The money race is certain to be won by Strange as he enjoys the support of President Trump, Senator Mitch McConnell and other national Republicans. They view Strange as someone they can work with and as being more in the mainstream of America.
They worry openly that Moore’s stances on biblical displays and his open defiance of Supreme Court orders in the past could prove a real problem if he manages to get into the Senate.
Congressman Mo Brooks finished third in the race with about 20 percent of the vote and immediately announced his plan to run for reelection to the House of Representatives.
Brooks thanked his supporters on election night and left the stage without endorsing anyone for the party nomination. He will receive extreme pressure over the coming days to endorse one of his former challengers and is perceived as being in a decision maker position until the primary runoff is over.
In the end, I expect Brooks to endorse Strange and the majority of Republicans to hold their nose and vote for Strange for the nomination. Democrats believe their best race will be against Moore and are already out touting Jones’ conservative credentials.
This race will have major implications for state and national politics. National attention will grow as there will be continued focus on the state and voter decisions.