Most polling has shown the former attorney general narrowly ahead of his two rivals in Tuesday’s GOP primary in Alabama — but he’s well short of the 50 percent needed to win the nomination without a runoff. And a poor performance on Tuesday could foreshadow defeat in a one-on-one runoff, a potentially ignominious end to Sessions’ political comeback after President Donald Trump bounced him from his cabinet.

“You could paint the scenario that Jeff Sessions could win,” said Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), who is neutral in the race. “But I could paint a scenario where he gets into a tough runoff, and that he could very well lose. And I think he understands that.”…

Whether the former attorney general faces Tuberville, who is second in most polls, or Byrne, who has run the most aggressive campaign on the ground, Sessions will be in a four-week dogfight for the likely March 31 runoff. One veteran GOP operative in the state, who requested anonymity to speak frankly, said it should concern Sessions if he finishes in the low-30-percent range Tuesday, where he has been in recent polling — but that low-to-mid-40 percent showing would be more promising.