(Feb. 24) While polls and common sense both say that incumbent Democratic Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama has little chance of winning reelection this fall, Jones retains one clear advantage that could save him. He may have enough campaign cash to bury whichever candidate Republicans nominate to run against him.

Republicans should not take this race for granted.

Fundraising numbers released late last week show Jones had $7.4 million in cash on hand as of Feb. 12. That compares tremendously well with the three leading Republican candidates. Former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions had $1.9 million remaining in his coffers on Feb. 12. Rep. Bradley Byrne had $1.6 million, and former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville had $1.1 million.

Even as all three continue to raise money, their coffers will likely shrink more than grow in the coming few months. Most indices point to a runoff in the Republican battle after the first primary on March 3, meaning the top two GOP candidates will need to spend even more money vying with each other during the runoff as Jones not only hoards but continues to build his war chest.

For veteran and well-vetted candidates such as Sessions and Byrne, the deficit to Jones may be somewhat less of a problem. Both have wider networks of long-standing donors, and the foibles of each already are well known and already “baked in” to their public personas. It isn’t likely that Jones will be able to spring any surprise attack on either.

Tuberville, on the other hand, has escaped most scrutiny other than for the fact that he entered this Alabama race after having voted most recently in neighboring Florida instead. If he makes the Republican runoff, whichever opponent he faces will likely begin to bloody him up if there are any chinks in his armor….

[The full column is at this link.]


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