Former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville won Alabama’s Senate runoff Tuesday, beating former senator and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, The New York Times reported.
His win marks the end to a long and bitter primary election between Tuberville, who received President Donald Trump’s endorsement despite having never held elected office, and Sessions, one of Alabama’s best-known politicians.
Trump celebrated the news in a Twitter post shortly after the race was called, with Tuberville winning about two-thirds of the vote.
Wow, just called! @TTuberville – Tommy Tuberville WON big against Jeff Sessions. Will be a GREAT Senator for the incredible people of Alabama. @DougJones is a terrible Senator who is just a Super Liberal puppet for Schumer & Pelosi. Represents Alabama poorly. On to November 3rd.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2020
The runoff, which was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, came after no candidate reached 50 percent in the state’s primary on March 3.
Even without Trump’s endorsement in the initial round of voting, Tuberville beat Sessions 33 percent to 31 percent.
Sessions’ unsuccessful attempt to win back his old seat likely marks the end of his decades-long political career.
He was the first senator to endorse Trump in 2015 and was named as attorney general after Trump’s victory the following year.
Sessions’ relationship with the president began to deteriorate after the then-attorney general recused himself from the investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.
Trump ultimately fired Sessions in November 2018.
Tuberville is slated to face off against incumbent Democratic Sen. Doug Jones in November.
BREAKING: Tommy Tuberville wins Republican Senate primary in Alabama, turning aside Jeff Sessions’ bid to reclaim the seat. https://t.co/czE5AMXoBx
— The Associated Press (@AP) July 15, 2020
A former lawyer who successfully prosecuted the KKK members involved in the 1963 bombing of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church, Jones beat candidate Roy Moore in a 2017 special election to fill the seat vacated by Sessions.
The race, which leans Republican, according to the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, is viewed as one of Republicans’ only opportunities to pick up a Senate seat in November.
Recent polls have shown Tuberville leading Jones by single-digit margins.
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