The day after tomorrow isn’t just the Democrats’ Super Tuesday. It’s also the day when Alabama Republicans will vote on whom to run for the Senate against the highly vulnerable incumbent Democrat, Doug Jones.
Jeff Sessions is running for the Republican nomination. There hasn’t been much publicly reported polling about the race, but it appears that Sessions is well out in front. However, it also looks like he will fall short of 50 percent. If so, Sessions will face a runoff election with the candidate who places second in the crowded field.
The two Republicans who are thought to have the best chance of making a runoff are Rep. Bradley Byrne and Tommy Tuberville, the former Auburn football coach. Judge Roy Moore, who lost to Jones in 2017, is running, but does not appear to have gained traction. Good.
In the event of a runoff, the big question will be whether Trump endorses Sessions’s opponent or elects to stay out of the race. Trump remains furious with Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia investigation. Endorsing Sessions’s opponent would be a way of getting back at the former Attorney General. In addition, I’m pretty sure Trump would love to prove that Alabama loves him more than it loves its longtime Senator.
On the other other hand, Trump probably doesn’t want to prove the opposite, as he would do if he endorsed Sessions’s opponent and Sessions won anyway. In addition, Richard Shelby, Alabama’s senior Senator, has asked Trump to stay out of the race, and a number of Trump’s Senate allies have endorsed Sessions — a popular figure with Senate Republicans. Among them are two members of the leadership team, Sens. John Barasso and Roy Blunt. So maybe Trump will resist the temptation to try and sink Sessions.
Most readers probably know where I stand. I’d love to see Jeff Sessions back in the Senate. The good news, though, is that all three of the leading Republican candidates — Sessions, Byrne, and Tuberville — would be heavily favored to win back the seat for the GOP.