Tommy Tuberville Defeats Jeff Sessions to Win Alabama Senate GOP Primary

July 14, 2020 Updated: July 15, 2020

Tommy Tuberville won the Alabama Senate GOP primary on Tuesday, defeating former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Familiar to Alabamians from his decade as Auburn University’s head football coach, the 65-year-old Tuberville is now positioned for a challenge against Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.). Jones back in 2017 became the first Democrat to win election to the Senate from Alabama in 25 years.

President Donald Trump announced Tuberville’s win late Tuesday.

“Tommy Tuberville WON big against Jeff Sessions,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “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.”

Alabama’s GOP primary in March had no candidate with a majority of the votes, with both Sessions and Tuberville having drawn about 32 percent, leading to the July 14 runoff.

Trump had endorsed Tuberville leading up to the March primary, calling him a “REAL LEADER who will never let MAGA/KAG, or our Country, down!”

“Tommy will protect your Second Amendment (which is under siege), is strong on Crime and the Border, and truly LOVES our Military and our Vets. He will be a great Senator for the people of Alabama. Coach Tommy Tuberville, a winner, has my Complete and Total Endorsement. I love Alabama!” Trump wrote on Twitter in March.

In May, Trump wrote on Twitter: “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, the true supporter of our #MAGA agenda!”

According to his website, Tuberville is running for Senate because he believes that the first duty of government is to “protect our individual liberty.” He said as senator he will fight for smaller government, fewer taxes, national sovereignty, and to defend the Constitution.

Ahead of the GOP primary, Tuberville asserted his wishes for Alabama in a video posted on Twitter, calling on voters to help send him to the Senate. In the video, Tuberville said that veterans and farmers need to be supported.

“We’ve got to help our veterans. We’ve got to straighten out the VA,” he said, adding that he would give all of his salary to Alabama veterans.

“Farmers, we gotta help them out. The food chain has been broken, they’re losing money,” Tuberville added.

The Alabama Republican nominee also expressed his wish to “change the direction of education,” saying that children have been indoctrinated into socialism.

“We’ve lost moral values, we’ve lost things that we all grew up with. We can get them back. We gotta get God and the Bible back in our schools. Christianity built this country,” he later said.

He also said he supports the building of the border wall.

“Let’s send a conservative Christian outsider to Washington, D.C.,” Tuberville said. “We might not have another chance.”

In another Twitter post, Tuberville shared his pro-life stance and support for the Second Amendment, writing, “Life begins at conception with no exception,” and: “The Second Amendment isn’t negotiable. No red flag laws.”

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions
Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks to reporters during a campaign stop at Sweet Creek restaurant and farmers market, south of Montgomery, Ala., on July 6, 2020. (Kim Chandler/AP Photo)

Sessions, 73, said from a stage in a hotel meeting from in his hometown of Mobile, Alabama, late Tuesday: “He [Tuberville] is our Republican nominee. We must stand behind him in November.”

Sessions served as a senator from Alabama for two decades—from 1997 to 2017—before he joined the Trump administration as attorney general in February 2017. He was the first Senate Republican to endorse Trump in 2016 before joining his administration.

At Trump’s request, Sessions resigned from the attorney general position on Nov. 7, 2018. Trump has repeatedly criticized Sessions’s decision to recuse himself from the probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Sessions insisted throughout the campaign and again Tuesday night in defeat that he was required by law to recuse because he was a potential subject and witness given his campaign ties to the president.

Bowen Xiao and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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