There were a few primaries yesterday, but only two items of note in terms of the national political scene: Jeff Sessions got trounced by former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville in the GOP primary in Alabama, effectively ending Sessions’ political career. Sessions was in a pickle in Alabama, where Trump is very popular. Sessions needed to kiss Trump’s ass to win the primary, but at the same time, Trump endorsed Tuberville while insulting and mocking Sessions, which made Sessions look a lot like Ted Cruz: A guy who flatters a President who treats him like sh*t. Hard to project confidence when you’re tongue kissing a buzzsaw. Anyway, Sessions got trounced, and now Tuberville will face off against Doug Jones, who will have an uphill climb against Tuberville in a state where Trump won by 30 points 2016. Jones will not be facing off against a pedophile but a popular former football coach with the back of a President who remains popular in Alabama.
If Doug Jones loses his seat to Tuberville, it will be that much more important for Democrats to win here in my home state of Maine, where state Speaker of the House, Sara Gideon, easily won the Democratic nomination last night. She will now face Susan Collins in November, and she has a huge $23 million war chest, plus another $3.5 million crowdfunded and promised to the Democratic nominee after Collins voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh.
Tourism is probably the leading industry here in Maine, and we’re getting creamed by the coronavirus (although, for locals, it’s been nice to enjoy our state without having to share it with out-of-staters), but the amount of money pouring in from Gideon and Collins’ political campaigns has to help some. Hell, I haven’t spent a day on the Internet in months without seeing at least one Gideon ad — they’re all over Pajiba for me.
Anyway, Collins easily won her race in 2014 with around 69 percent of the vote, but that was in a pre-Trump world. Maine is a light blue state with a very independent streak (Senator Angus King is an independent and hugely popular) and for a very long time, we were known for our two moderate GOP Senators, Olympia Snow and Susan Collins. Middle-of-the-road, both-sides doesn’t work anymore in this political environment, and in attempting to appease both sides over the last four years, Collins has mostly pissed off both Democrats — who criticize Collins for not standing up to the President — and Republicans, who assail Collins for not standing with the President.
Gideon, meanwhile, has not only a huge war chest, but is well liked and has the backing of both the local Democratic party and the national one. She is also leading in most polls. There have been 5 conducted in the state this year, and Gideon — even before the nomination — has led in four of them, including one last week that had Gideon up by four. It doesn’t help Collins, either, that Trump is unpopular in Maine, so it will be even more difficult for Collins to motivate Republicans to go to the polls, while most Democrats will return out absentee ballots the day we receive them because we are that excited about voting for Trump.
We got this here in Maine. Send your people and money to Alabama, because that’s where Democrats need the help.