The fight for the Alabama Senate seat previously vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions looks poised to go to a Sept. 26 runoff election. But the path there officially kicks off Tuesday with a special election primary in which three candidates will be weeded down to two. President Trump and Mitch McConnell are backing former Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, who was temporarily appointed to the seat after Sessions left it. But it's former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore who's the apparent front-runner, with Strange and US Rep. Mo Brooks trailing behind, reports Politico. More:
- A candidate needs 50% of the vote to take the seat, which most news outlets agree is unlikely to happen. Moore leads in some polls at around 35% support, with Strange and Brooks in a close race for second.
- Should Trump's favorite be eliminated, it "will call into question the influence of Trump's support in a reliably Republican state," per Politico.
- Not that Trump should be too disappointed with Brooks or Moore. Both are "Trumpian candidates," reports Axios.
- McConnell has a huge interest in the race, though. He and his allies have invested millions in Strange's campaign. Also key: Brooks has said he wants McConnell "fired."
- Not helping Brooks, however, is a controversial campaign ad he aired that included audio from the shooting of Steve Scalise, reports NBC News.
- Strange is likewise plagued by his appointment by former Gov. Robert Bentley in what some suspect was "a corrupt bargain to end the state's criminal investigation of Bentley," the New Republic previously reported.
- Reuters mentions the candidates' stances on issues like gay marriage and illegal immigration.
- The winner of the runoff election is likely to face one of two Democrats in December: either former US Attorney Doug Jones, backed by Joe Biden, or Robert Kennedy Jr., a Navy veteran with no relation to the famous Kennedy family, per Politico.
- Either way, the Republican winner will be sitting pretty. Alabama hasn't elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1992, per the New York Times.
Polls close at 8pm EDT. (Read more Alabama