Skip to Content

Alabama GOP Senate primary goes to runoff with Sessions and former Auburn football coach

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions will face former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville in a fierce Republican runoff election, CNN projects, pitting the man who held the seat for 20 years against a political neophyte.

The race is viewed as the Republicans’ best opportunity to pick up a Senate seat in the country. The question over whether President Donald Trump would try to pick a Republican in the runoff was answered quickly, as Trump tweeted Wednesday morning that Sessions’ inability to win outright was the result of not having “the wisdom or courage to stare down & end the phony Russia Witch Hunt.”

Tuberville tweeted back, “Mr President I could not agree more, and in 27 days help will be on the way!”

The Alabama Republican primary did not swing on any particular policy, but on who was most aligned with Trump. Although the President remained quiet during the first phase of the primary race, he had publicly mocked and ultimately fired Sessions: Trump once said he would’ve nominated someone else for attorney general if he knew Sessions would recuse himself from overseeing the Department of Justice investigation into Russian interference of the 2016 election (Sessions served as a top official on the Trump campaign).

But Sessions still commands a strong, conservative following in the state. In 2014, Sessions was so beloved in Alabama that he did not face an opponent. And in 2020, he, like every other Republican, centered his comeback bid on his strong support of the President. In ads, Sessions put back on the red “Make America Great Again” hat and reminded Alabama that he was the first senator to endorse Trump — and never said a “cross word” about him despite withering criticism.

The race has already turned negative. Sessions has made an issue of Tuberville’s residency, calling him a “tourist” who moved from Florida to run for Senate. Tuberville in turn has run as an outsider hell-bent on draining the swamp and ousting “career politicians.”

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill told CNN that the candidates will be even more aggressive in the runoff election.

“You ain’t seen nothing yet,” he said.

The winner of the Republican race will take on Democratic Sen. Doug Jones in a state Trump won in 2016 by over 27 points. The National Republican Senatorial Committee took an “anyone but Roy Moore” stance and got their wish; the Judge who lost to Jones in 2017 was on track to have a fourth place finish.

Article Topic Follows: Politics

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo



KVIA ABC 7 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content