Ten months after the presidential election, it’s time to start talking politics again. It’s on a much less grand scale. However, some will argue it may be of equal political importance.
That‘s what took me to Birmingham, Alabama.
When Jeff Sessions became the U.S. attorney general, he vacated his Alabama senate seat. That state’s attorney general, Luther Strange, was appointed to fill it – albeit temporarily. This was his chance to campaign to keep it. He wound up in a Republican runoff with the state’s former Supreme Court chief justice Roy Moore – infamous for his battles over the public displays of the Ten Commandments.
Strange’s quest to continue to serve beyond the end of the year was denied by Moore. Alabamans gave Moore a 10-percentage-point victory – even as President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence backed Strange. Below is a shot of Strange delivering his concession speech.
Judge Moore moves on now to face Democrat – and former U.S. attorney Doug Jones who is known for the civil rights prosecution of the people behind a deadly Alabama church bombing. Early handicapping has Moore with a slight lead.
Look for a lot of money to be spent on this race – from inside and outside Alabama. Remember…the the U.S. Senate is majority Republican – but only by a 52-48 margin. If Democrats can steal this seat…a shift in chamber control is well within reach.
As I do at every stop, I try to find some time to look around. Birmingham is a sprawling city with a noticeable commercial, government and university presence. It’s also steeped in civil rights history (e.g. MLK’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail). But all that is modern does surround some gems like this theater downtown.
Needless to say — wherever you go — there is some trace of ‘Bama…or…Auburn…or even the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Thank goodness I didn’t wear any Clemson orange. That would NOT have gone over well.
Needless to say, this race garnering national attention is a signal that the first political dominoes of the 2018 mid-term election season are teetering.
Will they stand or fall? Stay tuned.