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By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – You early risers might want to make plans to stay up late Tuesday night to watch WBZ-TV News at 11. By then we should have a winner in the special U.S. Senate election in Alabama to fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. And the outcome could be the single most important political story of 2017.

You know the details – the Republican nominee, Roy Moore, has been credibly accused of child molestation, part of a pattern of sexual interest in very young girls. And while most of the Republican establishment – including the other Alabama senator, Richard Shelby – have shunned Moore, the most prominent Republican of all has not.

roymoore Keller @ Large: Why Alabamas Special Senate Election Is A Big Deal

Roy Moore. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Trump has gone all in with Moore, and with good reason – polls show Moore’s opponent has a good chance of being the first Democrat to win a Senate race in Alabama in 25 years. That result would slice the GOP majority in the Senate to one vote, too close for comfort.

But there’s something else at stake here which should make Tuesday night’s news worth staying up for, even for those with a casual interest in politics.

A loss by Moore would be a signal to every Republican in Congress that even in the reddest state there is, Trump’s coattails are thin at best and Trump crony Steve Bannon is not to be feared.

That will make every Republican who has looked askance at this presidency feel much more free to keep their distance, and vote their own way, a huge potential problem for this White House. So, get the popcorn ready – Tuesday night may be a history maker.

Your opinions are welcome here. Contact me via email at keller@wbztv.com, or you can reach me on Twitter, @kelleratlarge.

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