- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 3, 2019

The impeachment push is putting the reelection chances of Sens. Doug Jones, Alabama Democrat, and Thom Tillis, North Carolina Republican, on shakier ground, according to political handicappers at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.

The political observers there say recent elections have become more nationalized.

They pointed out that the Democrats’ 2018 takeover of the House has been billed as the “most sweeping national referendum on any administration since the Great Depression” and that in 2016, “every state with a Senate race voted for the same party for Senate and for president for the first time in the history of Senate popular elections.”

“In what is already a nationalized political time, impeachment may be the ultimate nationalizing event for members of the House and the Senate,” said Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball.

The decision of House Democrats to formally launch an impeachment inquiry has opened up the possibility of a trial in the Senate, where Mr. Jones and Mr. Tillis would be called upon to weigh in.

Jones can’t be looking forward to a possible impeachment vote, because he’d either let down his party base if he votes to acquit, or burn some already rickety bridges with Trump voters if he votes to convict,” Mr. Kondik says, alluding to how Mr. Trump won Alabama in 2016 by 28 points.

Mr. Tillis, meanwhile, is facing a primary challenge from his right and has backed Mr. Trump in the impeachment battle, which could hurt him if he advances to the general election in North Carolina, which Mr. Trump carried by 3 points and where Democrats are eager to compete in 2020.

“His personal favorability numbers are not good, and his primary challenger is pushing him to embrace Trump strongly, which may or may not be the right move in the long term,” Mr. Kondik said.

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