Why Alabama's Senate race is drawing so much national interest

Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones will square off in Alabama's Senate race.

Alabama's special election for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions is drawing national interest. The stakes are high for both parties.

The winner of this race could have a major impact on how legislation moves forward in Washington.

Republicans control the United States Senate, but only by a narrow margin. Fifty-two senators align themselves with the GOP. Forty-eight align with the Democratic Party. That margin shows every vote counts.

“The Republican majority in the Senate is so narrow that they really can't afford to lose votes and if just one more seat goes, it will make it even more difficult to get any significant legislation passed next year,” explained Dr. Scott Turner at the University of Montevallo.

That's why so many are watching to see whether Republican Roy Moore or Democrat Doug Jones wins the seat vacated by Jeff Sessions.

Dr. Scott Turner at the University of Montevallo says the narrow margin was evident when Republicans could not get their healthcare bill passed in the Senate.

“In addition to just passing legislation, there's the potential for another Supreme Court nomination and that becomes very relevant because again, the margin is very very thin,” said Turner.

Turner says political observers are also watching Alabama’s special election as a preview of the 2018 midterms.

“If in fact we were to see Doug Jones pull out an upset in this election, it would be clearly demoralizing for Republicans moving into the 2018 midterms because my goodness, Alabama should be about as reliable for republicans as there is.

Election Day is December 12.

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