By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
GOP master strategist Karl Rove reportedly warned Alabamians not to run against Luther Strange (R) for the Senate seat vacancy created by Jeff Sessions (R) confirmation as US Attorney General. That warning was largely ignored and 19 people actually qualified to run for Senate by Wednesday’s Friday cutoff for major party qualifying.
Eleven Republican qualified for the US Senate race. According to the Alabama Republican Party, the following individuals submitted qualifying paperwork to run for the US Senate seat: James Paul Beretta, Joseph F. Breault, Randy Brinson, Mo Brooks, Dom Gentile, Karen Haiden Jackson, Mary Maxwell, Roy Moore, Bryan Peeples, Trip Pittman, and Luther Strange.
Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan said in a statement, “This is a record-breaking number of candidates to qualify with the Alabama Republican Party. We welcome all candidates and the voters who will make this most important decision. Now it is up to the candidates to share their policies and views with the Alabama voters. After the primary process, we look forward to the December 12 General Election to seat a Republican United States Senator by the people of our State.”
Eight Democratic candidates qualified with the Alabama Democratic Party to run in the US Senate Special Primary Election. Qualified candidates are Will Boyd of Lauderdale County, Vann Caldwell of Talladega County, Jason Fisher of Baldwin County, Michael Hansen of Jefferson County, Doug Jones of Jefferson County, Robert Kennedy, Jr. of Mobile County, Brian McGee of Lee County, and Nana Tchienkou of Jefferson County.
Alabama Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Worley said in a statement, “Democrats all across Alabama are enthusiastic about winning this Senate seat. Rank and file Democrats are excited about the prospect of clearing out the Republican Swamp critters and electing a US Senator who is a Democrat and cares about the concerns of ordinary people.”
Chairwoman Worley added, “Alabama voters want a US Senator that will work for higher paying jobs, quality public education, and affordable health care, rather than a rich swamp creature who only cares about tax cuts for billionaires.”
Both major party primaries will be held on August 15, 2017. If needed, special primary runoff elections will be held on September 26, 2017. The General Election will take place on December 12, 2017.
The best known candidates are Strange and former Chief Justice Roy Moore (R). This will be Moore’s fourth statewide campaign (twice for Chief Justice and twice for Governor). This will be Senator Luther Strange’s third statewide race (twice for Alabama Attorney General and once unsuccessfully for Lieutenant Governor. US Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) is a veteran of several campaigns over the last four decades. Brooks is an outspoken member of the House Freedom Caucus and has been critical of both Democrats and more moderate Republicans. State Senator Trip Pittman (R-Montrose) and former Clinton era US Attorney Doug Jones (D) are both well known in Alabama political circles. Jones defended many of the people charged in the Roy Johnson public corruption trials. Pittman has chaired both the State General Fund Finance & Taxation Committee as well as the state Education Trust Fund Finance & Taxation Committee in his time with the Senate Republican leadership. Most of the candidates are political newcomers.
A political action committee (PAC) supporting Senator Strange has already purchased $2.4 million worth of media advertising and is blanketing the State with their ads.