Let’s Show Some Love For Our Man In Alabama, Doug Jones
Democratic Alabama Senator Doug Jones beat Republican Roy Moore in the 2017 special election by less than two points, which is not the most comfortable margin if you want to defend your seat against candidates who aren't mall-cruising perverts. Come November, Jones will either face off against Alabama's former senator and Donald Trump's current punching bag Jeff Sessions or Tommy Tuberville, the former Auburn football coach the president endorsed because of his promising “Not Jeff Sessions" platform.
The coronavirus outbreak postponed the GOP primary runoff from March 31 to July, so Sessions will have to wait awhile for his public humiliation. Jones currently has $8 million in the bank, which is 10 times more than Sessions or Tuberville. Still, Alabama is a deep-red state, and the few polls available show either Republican candidate handing Jones his ass.
If Jones loses reelection, Democrats would need to flip four other seats to regain the Senate majority. (They can even get by with just three if Joe Biden wins the presidency and Vice President Kamala Harris breaks the tie.) This still seemed insurmountable -- most of the races were in states Trump won in 2016. However, now Democrats appear to have something more than a hope, and several Republican incumbents have something less than a chance.
WATCH: Sen. Jones' full statement on Trump's impeachment trial | Trump impeachment trial www.youtube.com
Colorado GOP Senator Cory Gardner and Maine GOP Senator Susan Collins both look weak in states Hillary Clinton carried. Democrat Mark Kelly has led every recent poll in Arizona against unelected incumbent Martha McSally. Girlfriend's toast. Democrat Cal Cunningham is running ahead of Republican Thom Tillis in North Carolina. Democratic Montana Governor Steve Bullock is also bringing the heat to Republican incumbent senator Steve Daines.
Those are five races Democrats have a better chance of winning, and there's evidence that the party's hanging Jones out to dry. Politico reports that neither the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, whose whole raison d'etre is defending incumbents, nor Chuck Schumer's Senate Majority PAC have fully committed to Jones's race.
Jesse Hunt, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said that "Doug Jones has been abandoned because even national Democrats want no part of this suicide mission."
Indiana GOP Senator Mike Braun, who beat Democrat Joe Donnelly in 2018, is already talking smack about Jones. He claimed the Alabama seat is "one pick-up we figured we were going to get," and he suggested that Democrats have seen the polling data and aren't going to bother wasting money on a race they can't win.
Jones, however, remains confident that Democrats are aware he exists.
JONES: I don't think they have to [invest money] right now. I don't even have an opponent yet. I don't think that they're going to leave us out at all. We feel very good about where we are in this race. There's no question about that.
Democrats are talking up Jones's “independent record" while Republicans are slamming him as a “loyal lapdog for Chuck Schumer." Aside from voting to confirm Attorney General Bill Barr, Jones has defied Trump consistently during the past two years. He also voted to remove the president from office. Yes, that was just three months ago, and it was a bold, principled move from a Democrat up for reelection in a state where Trump is still popular. Even if we run the table in every other contested race and are popping open the champagne while watching Susan Collins concede, we still need to keep Jones in the Senate.
You can donate to Jones here.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).