Republicans in Alabama will head to the polls Tuesday to decide whether Auburn’s former football coach or President Donald Trump’s former attorney general will take on Democratic Sen. Doug Jones in November.
Voters will choose between Trump-endorsed Tommy Tuberville and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the state’s runoff election, marking the end to a primary campaign that pit one of Alabama’s most well-known politicians against a man who has never held political office.
In Alabama’s March 3 primary, it was Tuberville who emerged as the frontrunner, leading Sessions by nearly 13,000 votes but finishing short of the 50% threshold needed to avoid a runoff.
For Sessions, tomorrow’s election will likely determine the fate of his decades-long political career. Despite being the first senator to endorse President Donald Trump in 2015, his early recusal from the Russia investigation was the beginning of the end to their relationship, which led to Sessions’s firing in November 2018.
As a result, his campaign to retake his old seat has been an uphill battle. Trump, whose support in Alabama is among the strongest of any state in the country, has constantly attacked Sessions for his rocky tenure as attorney general, despite Sessions continued support for his agenda.
A week after Tuberville bested Sessions in the first round of voting, Trump gave the former coach his full endorsement, a clear indication of the president’s continued dissatisfaction with Sessions.
This is what happens to someone who loyally gets appointed Attorney General of the United States & then doesn’t have the wisdom or courage to stare down & end the phony Russia Witch Hunt. Recuses himself on FIRST DAY in office, and the Mueller Scam begins! https://t.co/2jGnRgOS6h
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2020
Tuberville has held onto his lead, according to recent polls among registered Alabamans, but the spread remains in the single-digits and Sessions has maintained confidence that his legacy in the state still resonates with its voters, local outlet AL.com reported.
“I say my prayers and try to do the right thing,” he told AL.com Wednesday. “I think Donald Trump has been a president who has advanced the interests and values I believe in.”
“I can tell you things are moving our way in a lot of different ways. We can feel the momentum moving in our direction,” he said.
The winner will go up against Jones, who beat disgraced candidate Roy Moore in 2017 to win the seat Sessions that vacated. Polls have favored the eventual Republican candidate, and the seat is viewed by election forecasters as Republicans’ best pickup opportunity in an otherwise formidable environment come November.
The polls do show a tighter race if Sessions becomes the nominee, showing just how powerful Trump’s endorsement can be in deep-red Alabama, even when over half the state supports Auburn’s arch-rival.
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