Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill announced yesterday that he is ending his campaign for the Republican Senatorial nomination, saying that former Sen. Jeff Sessions being back in the race added obstacles that he could not overcome. In addition to Sen. Sessions, US Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Mobile), former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville, former state Supreme Court Chief Judge and 2017 Senate nominee Roy Moore, and state Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Shelby County) remain in the race.
The Club for Growth, again using the WPA Intelligence survey research firm, just polled Alabama’s open 1st Congressional District Republican primary and finds that their July numbers suggesting a run-off election have barely changed. The new poll (11/19-21; 413 AL-1 likely Republican primary voters) sees former state Sen. Bill Hightower leading the group with 35% preference, while state Rep. Chris Pringle (R-Mobile) and Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl both follow with 16 and 13 percent.
Back in July, WPAi reported that Mr. Hightower held an almost identical 34-16-12% margin against Messrs. Pringle and Carl. With 50% necessary to claim the party nomination, it appears this race is head to an April 14th run-off election to determine the Republican nominee. The eventual primary victor will become the prohibitive favorite for the general election. Current incumbent Bradley Byrne (R-Mobile) is running for the Senate.
The most interesting development surrounding Friday’s Alabama candidate filing deadline was former Senator and US Attorney General Jeff Sessions filing to run for the seat he resigned to accept his appointment in the Trump Administration. The first poll released after his formal announcement was taken well before Mr. Sessions’ declaration but included him in the field of candidates since it appeared he was making preliminary moves to enter.
WPA Intelligence, polling for the Club for Growth political organization (10/29-31; 511 AL likely Republican primary voters), finds Mr. Sessions leading the group of candidates with 36%, followed by former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville, who posts 23%. US Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Mobile) and ex-Alabama state Supreme Court Chief Judge and 2017 special election US Senate nominee Roy Moore are next, both drawing 11% preference. Secretary of State John Merrill pulls only 6% support. The results suggest a highly competitive primary with Mr. Sessions in good position to qualify for a run-off position.
The Alabama 2020 candidate filing deadline names the slate of contenders for the state’s seven US House districts.
In the open seats, District 1 and 2, we see five Republican candidates and three Democrats filing in the former, but the GOP nomination battle will almost assuredly produce the successor to Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Mobile) who is leaving the House to run for the Senate. The five Republican candidates include three major contenders, former state Sen. Bill Hightower, state Rep. Curt Pringle (R-Mobile), and Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl.
In retiring Rep. Martha Roby’s (R-Montgomery) 2nd District, six Republicans and two Democrats filed. Here, too, the Republican primary is virtually the election. On paper, the favorite should be former state Attorney General Troy King. Ex-state Rep. Barry Moore is returning to run again, but he did not fare well in his 2018 Republican primary challenge to Rep. Roby (19% in a field of five candidates).
Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Anniston) and Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) drew minor Democratic opposition in their respective districts. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) faces only a Republican primary opponent. Reps. Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) and Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham) both face no major party opposition.
It appears we may not have heard the end of Michael Bloomberg’s 2020 presidential effort. On the last day of candidate filing in Alabama, Mr. Bloomberg placed his name into contention for the state’s March 3rd Super Tuesday presidential primary. This does not necessarily mean that Mr. Bloomberg will actually become a national candidate, but he has certainly taken the first step toward doing so. In filing, the former New York City Mayor and media mogul said he does not feel the current Democratic field is well enough positioned to defeat President Trump.
Reports are emanating from Alabama that former Senator and US Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R) is going to announce his candidacy for his former seat later today. The candidate filing deadline is tomorrow, so Mr. Sessions and all other prospective candidates are now forced to make their final decision about entering the race. The Alabama primary is concurrent with Super Tuesday, March 3rd.
Mr. Sessions entering this Senate contest, arguably the most important in the cycle because a Republican victory here over Democratic Sen. Doug Jones might give the party enough to maintain its majority even if other states are lost, makes it all the more interesting.
His public feud with President Trump aside, Mr. Sessions will also have a formidable GOP field to overcome for the party nomination that includes Secretary of State John Merrill, Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Mobile), Auburn former head football coach Tommy Tuberville, and of course former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore. Alabama’s senior Senator, Richard Shelby (R), has already said he will endorse Mr. Sessions should he become a candidate.
Generally, the thought that ex-Senator and Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R) would attempt to again run for his former Alabama Senate seat has been met with negative response. One prominent person who would support the idea, however, is the state’s senior Senator, Richard Shelby (R). Yesterday, Mr. Shelby released a statement saying that he would endorse Mr. Sessions if the latter man decides to re-enter the political fray.
Reports coming from the Yellowhammer State suggest once more that former Attorney General and US Senator Jeff Sessions (R) is again considering entering the Senate campaign. Mr. Sessions is neither confirming nor denying his interest in running. Both President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) do not seem to favor a Sessions re-entry. The President is openly unfavorable while Sen. McConnell says he believes the current GOP field is capable of unseating Democratic Sen. Doug Jones.
Yesterday, Sen. Doug Jones (D), the most vulnerable Democrat on the US Senate ballot next year, reported his 3rd Quarter receipts and the total is impressive. Sen. Jones raised $2 million during the previous twelve weeks and has more than $5 million cash-on-hand. Reports have yet to surface from his key Republican opponents, Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Mobile), Secretary of State John Merrill, former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville, and ex-state Supreme Court Chief Justice and 2017 GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore.
The eventual Republican nominee will be favored, but it is clear that Sen. Jones is not going to easily relinquish his seat.
Former state Attorney General Troy King (R) just released the results of his open seat 2nd District poll in the battle to succeed retiring Rep. Martha Roby (R-Montgomery). Mr. King’s internal Tarrance Group survey (released 10/7; 303 AL-2 likely Republican primary voters) gives Mr. King a large lead, 34-18-17%, over former state Representative and 2018 congressional candidate Barry Moore and state Rep. Will Dismukes (R-Prattville). No other candidate even reaches double digits. Considering that Mr. King is a prominent former statewide office holder, the results are not particularly surprising.
The Republican nomination contest will decide who wins the seat in November because the district is safely in the GOP column. Alabama is one of the states that moved its primary to run concurrently with the March 3rd Super Tuesday presidential primary, so the candidates are operating in a relatively short election cycle. If no candidate receives majority support, likely in a multi-candidate field, a run-off will be held on April 14th.
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