Roy Moore’s 10-point victory over Sen. Luther Strange in the Alabama GOP Senate runoff Tuesday is significant not only for the result itself, but for the wide margin that separated the insurgent from the establishment candidate.

Now, party strategists from both sides of the aisle are trying to read the Dixie tea leaves to see what they mean for their short-term legislative and midterm election prospects.

Here’s the U.S. News list of the winners and losers after Alabama.

The Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate in Alabama is about to earn a heap of notoriety, simply for being the candidate running against Moore. “This just got real,” Jones tweeted Tuesday night. It remains to be seen how much outside support Jones will attract in a crimson-red state that will still be incredibly difficult to flip. But Moore is a magnet for controversial remarks who doesn’t shy away from the culture wars – and there’s always the outside chance he’ll go too far in the next two months, even for conservative Alabama. The first ingredient Jones will need for a chance at success: a fresh poll showing him he’s got a shot.

Alabama was Steve Bannon’s first political war since leaving the White House, and Breitbart News was his primary vehicle for carrying it out. The hard-right news site posted breathlessly on the Alabama runoff in the final 10 days, pounding Strange with injurious headlines and promoting Moore. If you’re a GOP candidate pondering a 2018 run, it would be smart to get in the website’s good graces – or at the very least, to avoid becoming a target. Breitbart is now emboldened and reveling in its own influence. “Get ready, the war is on,” one employee for the site says. “There will be battles inside D.C. too, not just on the campaign trail. A full-scale battleground.”

Staffers of AL.com’s Reckon section were asked to predict the outcome of the Moore-Strange race. Seven of nine participants chose Moore, but it’s John Hammontree who nailed it. The managing producer correctly forecast Moore taking 55 percent of the vote to Strange’s 45 percent, making him the Houdini to watch for the general election. Follow him on Twitter here.

In 2014, state Sen. Chris McDaniel ran a similar primary race to Moore’s, lambasting GOP Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi as an elite D.C. insider tainted by the swamp of Washington. Cochran barely survived by 2 percentage points, and McDaniel is now back. He was in attendance at Moore’s victory party and huddled with Bannon for several hours the night before. It’s clear he wants to run, and Wicker just happens to be next up on the ballot in 2018. It’s probably no coincidence that on Tuesday, Wicker founded the Trump Action Corps, a fundraising vessel that aligns him with the president and helps him raise money for his re-election.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s super PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund, went in “big league” for Strange, attempting to smear Moore as insufficiently conservative with $8 million in advertising. Their deep investment barely moved the needle. Even worse: The entity got tagged as a misguided interloper with McConnell’s grubby fingerprints on it. Money remains the mother’s milk of politics, but what happens when the milk spoils? Strange’s decisive defeat will open up the super PAC to scrutiny, with some voices already advocating for it to preserve its funds for use against Democrats, rather than damaging attacks against Republicans.

Tennessee consultants, media

With Sen. Bob Corker’s retirement announcement, the open-seat GOP primary for Senate in the Volunteer State has the potential to become a bonanza for political consultants and the media industry. Potential candidates for Corker’s seat are Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Gov. Bill Haslam and maybe even former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning. Like Mississippi’s McDaniel, state Sen. Mark Green was in Alabama courting Bannon’s support for the race as Moore’s success unfolded. And Andy Ogles, the former Americans for Prosperity chapter leader, announced his candidacy even before Corker declined to seek a third term. James Mackler, a Nashville attorney and Iraq War veteran, and teaching assistant Bill Bailey are the lone Democratic candidates in the race thus far. Open seats are a rare entity in politics. That means whoever becomes the front-runner here likely won’t have a free shot without a fight.





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