A Mason-Dixon poll released Tuesday indicates that Roy Moore is at the top of the GOP primary field, and that 50% of Alabama voters say that they would elect a Republican over incumbent Doug Jones in 2020.
But Jones’s re-election chances will be affected by who he draws as his Republican challenger in 2020. Currently, Roy Moore – who Jones defeated in 2017 – is the top choice of GOP voters.
Statewide, 27% of Republicans support Moore as the nominee, ahead of three current Congressmen – Mo Brooks at 18%, Bradley Byrne at 13% and Gary Palmer at 11%. Del Marsh (4%) and Tim James (2%) trail the field and a significant 25% are undecided. Moore could finish first in the GOP primary, but will likely have a much more difficult time winning a run-off.
His current lead is largely a result of his name recognition advantage over others in the field, standing at about 20-points over Brooks, 40-points over Byrne and 50-points over Palmer. Those cushions will evaporate once the campaign begins in earnest. Moore also remains a divisive figure among Republican voters, with 34% having a favorable opinion of him but 29% holding an unfavorable view. All of the other potential candidates only have single-digit unfavorable name recognition.
Additionally, all of the three Alabama congressmen that could face Moore in the run-off will
not have the baggage of his 2017 run-off opponent — appointed Senator Luther Strange.
Strange was hampered by the fact that he received his appointment to the Senate from
unpopular former Governor Robert Bentley, who was later forced to resign from office.
Here’s a thought to put in your pipe and smoke. Roy Moore might face Jeff Sessions, if Sessions would choose to run for his old seat. There’s no indication of that at this time, but it is a possibility to consider. If that would take place, Sessions would indisputably win a primary and it would be a large burden for Jones to overcome.
Also consider this possibility: If for some reason we don’t regain the White House, it is crucial that we retake the Senate, because with a Democratic House and Senate, we could possibly get Trump impeached. I’m not being a doomsayer here, merely examining all the different possibilities and permutations of the 2020 field. The only thing I feel totally confident about saying right now, is that it’s going to be a bitch kitty of an election, unquestionably the most intensely fought of any election in our lifetimes.