Sabatos Crystal Ball

Alabama Races

Senate Outlook for 2008

Can Democrats Take Advantage of the Turf?

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Alabama

Outlook: Solid Republican


June 17, 2008 Update:

Democrats now have their nominee, but still not much of chance to knock off Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions. On June 3rd, Democratic voters selected state senator Vivian Davis Figures for the party nod, giving her 63% of the vote in a three-way race. Figures hasn’t impressed with the rest of her numbers, though, reporting just $14,000 cash on hand in mid-May, while Sessions showed $4 million in the bank. A lack of fundraising isn’t the only reason Figures will lose – a thirty point deficit in recent polling comes to mind – but it is indicative of a campaign short on cash and confidence.

May 13, 2008 Update:

2008 could prove to be quite a fruitful election cycle for the Democratic Party, but Alabama won’t be counted amongst the Democrats’ successes. Jeff Sessions’s monstrous leads in fundraising and recent polling, coupled with incumbency and Alabama’s deep Red tendencies, point to a Republican landslide in November. Barring major catastrophe or scandal, Sessions will hold his seat for another term.

March 3, 2008 Update:

Nothing much has changed down Alabama way. Republican incumbent Jeff Sessions is still the prohibitive favorite in this showdown, and the end-of-2007 fundraising numbers show it. Sessions reported nearly $4 million in cash on hand; his biggest challenger, Democratic state senator Vivian Davis Figures, had less than $18,000. Alabama in 2008 looks like it will uphold the Southern political tradition of incumbents waltzing to sizable victories.


Background

Jeff Sessions, the Republican incumbent in Alabama’s 2008 Senate race, must like his chances. Recent approval polls in the Yellowhammer State show a 59% approval rating for Sessions, including a 47/44 approve/disapprove rate among Democrats. The fifth-most conservative Senator (as ranked by National Journal) should fare pretty well in a state that gives President Bush a 41% approval rating (a dozen points higher than his national numbers).

Sessions isn’t just a rank-and-file Republican, though. He has been one of the most vocal opponents to the recent immigration package, and has spoken out and voted against embryonic stem cell research and the ”nuclear option” agreement by the Gang of 14 during his two terms.

State senator Vivian Davis Figures is the only Democratic candidate currently on the radar in the 2008 race, after state agriculture commissioner Ron Sparks announced his withdrawal from the contest. Sessions, as a right-wing conservative in a very red state, shouldn’t have too much trouble against the Democrats’ second-string.

Candidates

Vivian Davis Figures – Democrat – state senator
Website

Jeff Sessions (I) – Republican
Website