Luther Strange (R-AL) in a GOP primary runoff for Attorney General Jeff Sessions' old Senate seat in Alabama, setting up what's likely to be a bloody contest. Hard-right conservative Judge Roy Moore looked likely to coast to a first place finish in what will turn out to be the first round of voting, with McConnell's favored candidate - incumbent Sen.
Alabama is a run-off state so, if none of the Republicans clears 50 percent, the victor and the runner-up will face each other in another Republican "primary" late this fall.
The primaries will go to a runoff unless a candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote Tuesday. The victor of each primary will advance to a general election on December 12.
As Strange arrived at a crowded Republican victory event here, there was little worry - in the hotel ballroom, at least - that the president's stumbling responses to Charlottesville would become a runoff problem. A Cygnal poll released last week showed almost 31 percent of those surveyed backed Moore, while almost 23 percent supported odd and 18 percent favored Brooks. Jones was considered the most credible candidate by national Democrats in the deep red state and had been endorsed by former vice-president Joe Biden and Congressman John Lewis. "President Trump is the greatest thing that has happened to this country", odd said this summer.
Trump's endorsement of odd was perhaps even more surprising given the president's recent attacks on Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell in the wake of the Senate's failure to repeal and replace Obamacare. While in the Senate this year, he has backed the Hearing Protection Act as well as other pro-gun measures and asked the NRA to help teach Congress how to shoot in the aftermath of an attack on Republican lawmakers at a charity softball event. He will continue to enjoy financial backing from McConnell's wealthy friends and the moral support of Trump, whose current embattled defense of neo-Confederate monuments will only enhance his wild popularity among Alabama Republican voters. Such an overperforming of recent polls could also show whether the money backing odd has made a difference.
Alabama is one of the minority of states where Trump's approval rating is above 50% - and he remains immensely popular among Republican voters who will decide the Senate race. So we may summarize the Republican primary as being contested by the unusual, the addled, and the downright weird.
Then-Gov. Robert Bentley appointed unusual to temporarily fill the seat vacated by Sessions ahead of the special election.
On election day morning, unusual went on Fox & Friends to plead his case one more time. Brooks even argued Trump had been "misled" by Washington Republicans into endorsing odd, an attack which had the downside of suggesting the popular president didn't know what he was doing.
"Alabama voters are a lot smarter than they give us credit for", Wade said.
The fight for the Alabama Senate seat previously vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions looks poised to go to a September 26 runoff election. "A Trafalgar Group poll taken mostly after Trump's August 8 endorsement of odd had Moore at 35 percent, unusual at 23 percent and Brooks with 20 percent".
They also seized on a split between Trump and McConnell over health care - with Trump bashing the powerful Senate majority leader on Twitter for failing to shepherd the GOP's effort to repeal and replace Obamacare through the chamber. But you say they're going to the polls on horseback. A super PAC with ties to McConnell, the Senate Leadership Fund, has been running television ads of Brooks' past critical comments about Trump. Luther Strange is about to find out.
The feuding between odd and Brooks has given Moore, once considered a far-out long shot with little chance of winning a Senate race, an opening.
The race may be too close to call, too, according to the Deseret News, as local officials worry about counting all the ballots before the night is through, thanks to a mixup where unaffiliated voters received ballots only meant for Republicans.
In May, Moore proclaimed: "God puts people in positions in positions he wants".