Challengers to U.S. Sen. Doug Jones starting to line up for 2020 election

HUNTSVILLE,  Ala. -- U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, a Democrat, scored an upset in 2017 over Republican Roy Moore.

He was the first Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate from Alabama in 25 years.

Jones's seat is up for election in 2020 and Republicans want it back.

Jones's win in 2017 was shaped by a number of factors, including an opponent weakened by a scandal and lots of out of state money.

Republican voters didn't turn out for Republican Roy Moore in the numbers they gave either Donald Trump in 2016 or Gov. Kay Ivey in 2018.

The GOP expects to change that in 2020.

Mobile-area U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne is the first declared Republican challenger to Jones. Byrne was in Huntsville Friday.

"We’re pro-life in Alabama, we can't get pro-life bills through Congress," he said. "We're for building the wall in Alabama, we can't get building the wall through the Congress. We're for the 2nd Amendment and people’s gun rights in Alabama and we’ve got folks trying to take our gun rights away."

Byrne said Jones is out of step with those values.

"We've got Senator Jones voting against Judge Kavanaugh, and we're for Donald Trump in Alabama. We've got people like Senator Jones who are against Donald Trump."

GOP voters could have a number of choices.

Alabama Senate President Del Marsh says he's considering a run for the seat. While Byrne has stressed his loyalty to Trump, Marsh says Byrne wasn't as loyal to Trump when the controversial Access Hollywood tape came out before the 2016 election.

Birmingham-area Congressman Gary Palmer is considered a possible candidate. The Club for Growth, a conservative Republican group, sent out a poll Wednesday that it said showed Palmer is the strongest candidate for the seat.

Jones, who currently has the most cash on hand in the field -- $2.1 million – is not expected to face a primary opponent.

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