Doug Jones’ victory in Alabama Tuesday made it much simpler for Democrats to win a Senate majority in 2018.
Republicans held 52 seats going into Tuesday night’s election and the midterm election map looked generally favorable for the GOP.
Democrats needed to defend Senate seats in Republican states like West Virginia and Montana and would have had to pick up victories in Arizona, Nevada and likely Texas or Tennessee.
“Jones’ win in Alabama changes this calculus. Democrats no longer have to look to Tennessee or Texas (both of which are very red) for their 51st vote in the Senate,” the Weekly Standard’s election analyst David Byler wrote.
“They simply need to defend all of their seats while winning Nevada (a purple state) and Arizona (a state that should be in reach for them if Trump’s approval rating stays where it is today). This transforms Tennessee and Texas from states that Democrats must win to get the majority to optional gains that could either pad their majority or make up for potential incumbent losses.”
Moore was a uniquely weak candidate due to allegations of sexual misconduct with teenage girls, and so local politics were at play in Tuesday’s election.
Exit polling, however, shows that Democrats could successfully use the 2018 midterms as a referendum on President Trump. Trump won the Yellowhammer State with 62 percent of the vote in 2016, however, he only received the approval of 48 percent of voters Tuesday.
The president endorsed Moore, and told voters at a Friday night rally to “go out and vote” for the former judge, but Moore received just under 50 percent of Trump’s 2016 vote total. Jones on the other hand got 94 percent of Hillary Clinton’s vote total.
“This over performance by D, under by R has been pretty consistent in 2017 specials,” Cook Political Report’s national editor Amy Walter tweeted.
Jones’ victory came after Democrats won gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia and displayed strong performances in several other state and local elections. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said at the time, “Our Republican friends better look out,” and referenced the Democrats’ success in the 2006 midterms.
Schumer and Democrats, however, still have fundraising troubles to deal with.
The Democratic National Committee had the worst October fundraising-wise since 2003. The party has raised $55 million in 2017 compared to $113.2 million raised by the Republican National Committee.