Bulletin
Investor Alert

Associated Press Archives | Email alerts

July 15, 2020, 11:13 a.m. EDT

Trump-backed candidate Tuberville beats former Attorney General Sessions in Alabama GOP Senate primary

new
Watchlist Relevance
LEARN MORE

Want to see how this story relates to your watchlist?

Just add items to create a watchlist now:

or Cancel Already have a watchlist? Log In

By Associated Press


Associated Press
Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville.

MOBILE, Ala. — Former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions lost the Republican nomination for his old Senate seat in Alabama to former college football coach Tommy Tuberville, likely ending a long political career with a bitter defeat egged on by President Donald Trump.

Tuberville, 65, beat Sessions in Tuesday’s Republican runoff as Sessions fell short in his attempted comeback for a seat he held for two decades before resigning to become Trump’s attorney general in 2017.

Familiar to Alabamians from his decade as Auburn University’s head football coach, Tuberville is now positioned for a strong challenge against Democratic U.S. Sen. Doug Jones. With Alabama’s strong GOP tilt, the seat is widely viewed as Republicans’ best chance for a pickup as they try to maintain their thin Senate majority amid Trump’s lagging popularity nationally.

Sessions, 73, was wounded by Trump’s criticisms after he recused himself in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. Sessions, who’d been the first U.S. senator to endorse Trump during the GOP presidential primary campaign, insisted he was required by law to recuse because he was a potential subject and witness given his campaign ties to the president.

Trump endorsed Tuberville after Alabama’s March primary, when Sessions finished just ahead of Tuberville with a third of the vote but well shy of the majority required for the nomination. The president tweeted: “3 years ago, after Jeff Sessions recused himself, the Fraudulent Mueller Scam began. Alabama, do not trust Jeff Sessions. He let our Country down. That’s why I endorsed Coach Tommy Tuberville (@TTuberville), the true supporter of our #MAGA agenda!”

The president continued his criticism of Sessions right up to the eve of Tuesday’s election.

“I made a mistake when I put him in as the attorney general,” Trump told Tuberville supporters on Monday. “He had his chance and he blew it.

In the closing weeks of the runoff campaign, Sessions answered Trump directly on Twitter, telling the president he was “damn fortunate” Sessions recused because it “protected the rule of law & resulted in your exoneration.”

But it wasn’t enough to overcome dynamics that Tuberville willingly embraced. Boosted by both Trump’s endorsement and name recognition from his coaching tenure, Tuberville positioned himself as a political outsider and capitalized on the president’s criticisms of Sessions.

“Jeff Sessions was a disaster It’s time to send a message to Jeff Sessions that President Trump does not want him or his cronies in the swamp” Tuberville wrote on Twitter.

Tuberville ran a risk-adverse campaign, declining media interviews and Sessions’ challenges to debate in the closing weeks of the campaign. Despite Alabama’s fundamental Republican advantage, Tuberville is almost certain to face more scrutiny in a general election campaign against Jones.

This Story has 0 Comments
Be the first to comment
More News In
Economy & Politics

Story Conversation

Commenting FAQs »
Link to MarketWatch's Slice.