Cillizza: What is conventional wisdom tonight? Tuberville? Sessions? Or a real throw?
Sharp: The ballot was limited before today’s elections. What poll took place shows Tuberville in mind. An independent survey conducted in May showed Tuberville a 20 point advantage. The Sessions campaign believes they have made progress in recent weeks as the former attorney general has been more visible across the state. They also see an appearance last week on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show as very positive after the television host hailed Sessions as “one of the very few politicians I respect”.
Sessions says Tuberville – who declined invitations to debate Sessions – is not approved or prepared to be a US senator. Tuberville has an advantage in fundraising with the support of the Club for Growth in Washington, DC.
Cillizza: Donald Trump made his point of view on this race very clear. How much did it hurt Sessions / help Tuberville?
Sharp: According to Morning Consult, before the pandemic, President Donald Trump’s popularity was higher in Alabama than in any other state.
In November, he received a cheering ovation during a football game at the University of Alabama. He is popular with conservative voters in the state, so his views on this breed are important. Analysts I speak to think that Trump’s approval of Tuberville matters less than his opposition to the sessions. In May, Sessions wrote an editorial explaining why the recusal was the right decision as an attorney general. But the president continued to criticize Sessions on Twitter, while promoting Tuberville’s candidacy.
The political observers to whom I speak think that Sessions has played too much defense on this issue when it should have tried to sell more to voters. Sessions said challenge is the only area where he and Trump disagree. The sessions reminded voters that he was the first senator to approve Trump’s presidential candidacy in 2016, and that he is a staunch supporter of President America’s program. Over the weekend, Sessions tweeted to Trump, “As you know, Alabama is not taking control of Washington. ”
Trump is 0-2 in his past advances in Alabama Senate contests – he lost to Luther Strange before the 2017 GOP second round against Roy Moore. He then endorsed Moore in the general election, won by Doug Jones.
Cillizza: Is it rightly considered a referendum on Trump because he was so involved? As in, if Sessions wins, is this a message for Trump?
Sharp: I did not hear if the victory of the Sessions would be a referendum on Trump. Aside from the issue of challenge, Sessions praised Trump and his platform during the election campaign.
The president was not physically involved in this race as he was in the 2017 special election contest when he campaigned at Luther Strange in Huntsville (the speech no longer remembers the first time the president s ‘is addressed to kneeling NFL football players), and he has joined Roy. Moore a few days before the general election in Pensacola, Florida.
The president did not organize a rally for Tuberville before the second round, so his involvement in the race was centralized on Twitter. Alabama Republicans have long been torn apart by the Trump-Sessions dispute. Sessions was a popular senator among Alabama Republicans from 1997 to 2017. The last time Sessions was held, in 2014, he won without any opposition to the primary. Just a few years ago, the Republicans of Alabama were proud that Sessions became the Attorney General. It is rare for someone in this state to be so close to the line of the President. The state had a vice president (William Rufus King, who served six weeks before his death in 1853), a speaker from the House (William Bankhead from 1936-40) and Condoleezza Rice, a resident of California since long time native of Birmingham. Secretary of State.
Cillizza: « Lou Saban. » Does it matter to voters?
Sharp: I haven’t heard that it matters. “Lou Saban” was pronounced by the president during statements he made yesterday in favor of Tuberville, on the eve of the elections. This prompted Alabama journalists to search for the name “Lou Saban,” who has proven to be a prolific football coach in an astonishing six-decade career. He was the AFL coach of the year in 1964, when he was the manager of the Buffalo Bills. But I checked his statistics and I don’t see any football connection with Alabama with this Saban.
The other Saban, University of Alabama football head coach Nick Saban, is well known in his own right. The GOP campaign strategist and the Alabama candidates will sometimes say that the only approval that matters more than the current president is that of Nick Saban. And I don’t feel like Nick Saban is involved in Alabama politics right now, if ever.
Cillizza: Finish this sentence: “Doug Jones wants ________ to win tonight. Now explain.
Sharp: If you talk to the Sessions campaign and to some political analysts in this state, they will say Tuberville because he has not been verified and is a political novice. They will point to a few questions about Tuberville’s past, including residence – Tuberville declared a property exemption on property he owned in Florida in 2018 and had been a registered voter in the Sunshine State. The Tuberville campaign highlighted that the former coach had paid property taxes in Alabama since the days of the Auburn coaches. The revelation from the hedge fund and concerns over the treatment of a football player accused of sexual assault in 1999 have also been on the campaign in recent weeks.
Alabama Republicans also continue to worry for 2017, when revelations about Roy Moore’s past involvement with teenage girls surfaced about a month before the election via a Pulitzer Prize winning story in the Washington Post . The other Alabama US senator, Richard Shelby, then urged the Republicans to write a candidate. Lo and behold, the number of written ballots played a key role in Jones’ victory.
According to his supporters, the sessions are controlled, unlike Tuberville. But Alabama is a reliable stronghold for the GOP. It doesn’t matter who wins tonight. In 2018, the same year, the Democrats posted a solid performance nationwide; the Republicans won all state competitions in Alabama with comfortable margins. Analysts believe the Alabama Senate contest is the only likely opportunity for Republicans to win a Democrat’s Senate seat in November. The Cook Political Report assesses races organized by serving GOP senators as “questioning” in Arizona, Colorado, Maine, Montana and North Carolina. The stakes are high for Republicans to win this race and not see a repeat of 2017. The Senate Leadership Fund and other influential GOP groups such as the United States House, who all sat out of the race of 2017 for the sake of Moore’s candidacy, will likely play a role in Alabama racing this fall. Jones, most analysts predict, will be the underdog. Again, he was the underdog throughout the 2017 competition.