Sessions, Tuberville face off in Alabama’s U.S. Senate primary runoff

Jeff Sessions and Tommy Tuberville are running in the Republican primary runoff election for U.S. Senate in Alabama on July 14.

Sessions held the Senate seat for 20 years before President Donald Trump (R) appointed him as U.S. attorney general in 2017. Sessions says he committed to the Trump agenda as a U.S. senator and in the Department of Justice. Several U.S. senators, the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council, and the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund endorsed Sessions.

Tuberville, a former college football coach, calls himself the outsider in the race who will stand with Trump. The president endorsed Tuberville on March 10. FarmPAC—the political action committee of the Alabama Farmers Federation—and the Club for Growth PAC also endorsed him.

Trump and Tuberville have criticized Sessions for recusing himself from the investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election during his time as attorney general. Trump won Alabama by 28 percentage points in the 2016 presidential election. Sessions has said Tuberville is not from Alabama and is a tourist in the state. Sessions also says Tuberville has supported amnesty for people in the country illegally and has criticized Trump on veterans’ healthcare.

In the March 3 primary, Tuberville received 33.4% of the vote to Sessions’ 31.6%. The runoff was originally scheduled for March 31. Gov. Kay Ivey (R) postponed it until July 14 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Three election forecasters currently have different ratings for the general election: Toss-up, Lean Republican, and Likely Republican. Incumbent Doug Jones was the first Democrat to win a Senate seat in Alabama since 1992. Roll Call listed him as the most vulnerable senator up for re-election in 2020. Jones won the 2017 Senate election by 1.7 percentage points. Roy Moore, the Republican nominee in the special election, was accused of sexual assault ahead of the election. Moore denied the allegations.