Alabama takes political center stage

The state’s early deadline to qualify for the ballot forced a surprise decision that will week: Former brand-new York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be likely to file to run for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination in Alabama — ensuring that will he wouldn’t be left off the ballot there.
The news came right after Jeff Sessions, the former Alabama senator in addition to US attorney general, launched a bid to challenge Democratic Sen. Doug Jones for his old Senate seat — defying the wishes of his former boss, President Donald Trump.

Trump, meanwhile, will be set to head to Alabama that will weekend. He’ll attend the University of Alabama’s home football game against Louisiana State University — a match-up between the Associated Press’ No. 1 in addition to No. 2-ranked teams inside country.

His visit comes shortly after newly released internal documents revealed that will the government weather forecasters who swatted down his incorrect claim that will Hurricane Dorian was headed for Alabama did so without realizing he was the source of the misinformation.

The odd confluence of events has placed Alabama at the forefront of national politics late that will week, in addition to raised a series of questions for which the answers will unfold inside coming months.

Among them: How will Bloomberg, a billionaire many times over who will be willing to spend his own money on a centrist campaign, change the Democratic presidential race? in addition to can Sessions, who was fired by Trump, co-exist with his former boss — or will Trump hammer his former attorney general so hard that will Sessions loses the primary or Jones keeps his seat inside general election?

“We’re like the center of the maelstrom of that will episode of ‘As American Burns,'” said David Mowery, an Alabama-based political consultant who has worked for candidates in both parties.

Alabama isn’t a stranger to that will role. In late 2017, the special election for Sessions’ former Senate seat there dominated headlines. The race inside deep-red state was competitive largely because Roy Moore, the controversial former judge who won the Republican nomination, was imploding amid numerous allegations that will he sexually assaulted teens while in his 30s. Those allegations, which Moore denied, cost the GOP the seat in a December 2017 special election.

The series of events on the GOP side can be traced back to the early stages of the 2016 Republican primary, when Sessions became the first senator to endorse Trump.

“the idea all kind of starts with 2015: Trump incorporates a rally in Mobile with Jeff Sessions. in addition to that will was the spark that will lit the flame that will propelled him to the nomination, to the presidency,” Mowery said.

Trump fired Sessions in November 2018, blaming the Alabama Republican for recusing himself inside Russia probe in addition to allowing special counsel Robert Mueller to be appointed. A month after the firing, Trump tweeted, “Jeff Sessions should be ashamed of himself for allowing that will total HOAX to get commenced inside first place!”

When asked on the White House lawn by CNN on Friday if he could endorse Sessions, Trump said, “I saw he said very nice things about me last night, however we’ll have to see.”

Trump’s comments come after Sessions tried to ease tensions with Trump. Despite Trump firing him in addition to publicly, in addition to repeatedly, lambasting him by saying he’d made a mistake choosing him as attorney general, Sessions released a video expressing his continued support of the President.

“When I left President Trump’s Cabinet, did I write a tell-all book? No. Did I go on CNN in addition to attack the President? Nope,” Sessions said in a video released by his campaign Thursday as he entered the Senate race. “Have I said a cross word about President Trump? Not one time. in addition to I’ll tell you why: First, that will could be dishonorable. I was there to serve his agenda, not mine. Second, the President will be doing a great job for America in addition to Alabama, in addition to he has my strong support.”

Later inside video, Sessions said: “When President Trump took on Washington, only one senator out of 100 had the courage to stand with him: me. I was the first to support President Trump. I was his strongest advocate. I still am.”

however the Alabama GOP Senate primary field will be already crowded, with Republican Rep. Bradley Byrne, secretary of state John Merrill, former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville in addition to Moore.

in addition to Sessions’ entrance doesn’t appear to have chased off anyone.

“the idea’s going to be hard to get elected in a Republican primary in Alabama when a Republican president with over 0% approval rating among primary voters has said just the last few weeks that will Jeff Sessions will be an embarrassment to the great state of Alabama. He’s going to have a hard time with that will,” Byrne told reporters in Alabama that will week.

the idea’s all coming to a head around a college football game for primacy inside Southeastern Conference, with Trump on hand.

“that will game alone could be huge,” Mowery said. “You layer the president over the idea. in addition to then you’ve got that will whole subplot of Sessions, the president’s bête noire, jumping in.”

“The Bloomberg thing will be just a whole ‘nother level of bananas,” he said.

Bloomberg that will week sent aides to collect the signatures required to qualify for the Alabama ballot for the state’s primary on Super Tuesday — March 3. Next week, he’ll need to file in Arkansas in addition to brand-new Hampshire.

Those early deadlines mean potential last-minute entrants into the 2020 presidential race were essentially out of time to make up their minds.

Alabama could be a competitive state inside Democratic primary. Along with different southern states, its Democratic electorate will be largely black — a constituency that will former Vice President Joe Biden has performed strongly with as he competes with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren in addition to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders inside top tier of national polls.

that will primary in Alabama could take place on the same day as the GOP’s Senate primary.

“the idea seems like the idea’s just going to get crazier coming from here,” Mowery said.

CNN’s Gregory Wallace in addition to Maegan Vazquez contributed to that will report.

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