Doug Jones won Tuesday’s Democratic primary for the Alabama Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Much of the Democratic establishment ― including civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and former Vice President Joe Biden ― coalesced around Jones early on in the primary. As a former U.S. attorney in Alabama, Jones successfully prosecuted Ku Klux Klan members involved in the infamous 1963 Birmingham church bombing.
Robert Kennedy Jr., however, surprised observers last month by shooting to the top of the seven-candidate field in a poll, despite not hiring any staff or spending much money. The 47-year-old African-American business executive, who happens to have a famous name, pitched himself as a “conservative Democrat.” According to Slate, he also appears to split his time between the Cotton State and the Bay Area, where he works and also owns a home.
A Democratic victory in deep red Alabama is viewed as an extreme long shot ― especially for a seat vacated by a conservative immigration hawk like Sessions. Democrats, however, are hoping to capitalize on a series of recent Republican embarrassments in the state, including the resignation of former Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) over campaign finance violations and a sex scandal.
Bentley appointed Luther Strange, a former state attorney general who was tasked with investigating the governor, to fill Sessions’ seat in February.