Republican U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, a four-term lawmaker from Huntsville, has announced he will run in a special election for Alabama’s open U.S. Senate seat against U.S. Senator Luther Strange, who was appointed in February. In a series of events across the state, Brooks touted himself as the only candidate with “a proven record of conservative leadership.” He is the eighth Republican and 10th candidate overall in the race triggered after new Governor Kay Ivey ordered an election this year. (Posted May 16)
U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins announced that he will try to defeat U.S. Senator Joe Manchin in 2018, in what is expected to be one of the South’s hottest Senate races. Although Manchin, a former governor, styles himself as a moderate, Jenkins put out a blistering campaign video accusing Machin of straying from the values he was elected to represent by supporting Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Jenkins also tied himself firmly to Donald Trump, who won the Mountaineer State by a staggering 41 points in 2016. (Posted May 8)
Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, the controversial favorite of the Christian right twice elected and twice ousted as chief justice after battles over same-sex marriage and the Ten Commandments, is running against U.S. Senator Luther Strange to fill the seat vacated when Jeff Sessions became U.S. attorney general. Moore is the third Republican to challenge Strange, who was appointed to the seat in February but now must defend it after new Alabama Governor Kay Ivey reversed a decision by her predecessor, Robert Bentley, and called a special election.
With the support of all 24 Southern Republicans, the U.S. Senate changed its rules to eliminate filibusters for Supreme Court nominations, clearing the way for confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to a lifetime seat on the high court. Three of the four Southern Democratic senators — Bill Nelson of Florida and Mark Warner and Tim Kaine of Virginia — supported a filibuster to block Gorsuch, prompting Republicans to end the practice. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who did,’t join the filibuster but voted against changing the rules, criticized both sides for “hypocrisy,” saying the filibuster flap shows “precisely what is wrong with Washington.”(Posted April 6)
U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who is giving up his safe House seat in order to make a long-shot bid to unseat U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, kicked off his campaign March 31 with a rally in his hometown of El Paso, which he represents in Congress, followed by a weekend of stops in major cities around the Lone Star State. Without mentioning Cruz by name, O’Rourke accused him of putting political ambition above his job as a senator, saying that to meet the challenges of the future, Texans will need “a senator who’s working full time for Texas, a senator who’s not using this position of responsibility and power to serve his own interests, to run for president, to shut down the government.” O’Rourke is also positioning himself as aDonald Trump critic, saying the new administration is “focused on the wrong things instead of the right things that (are) going to get us ahead.” (Posted April 1)
U.S. Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia says he is through with presidential-level politics and will not run for the Democratic nomination in 2020. Kaine made those remarks in a November 17 interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch, his first in-depth interview since he and Hillary Clinton went down to defeat on November 8. “I want to run and serve in the Senate for a long time,” Kaine said. “I think the Catholic in me likes to go to the place where there is the most work to be done.” Kaine is up for re-election in Virginia in 2018. (Posted November 18)