The GOP Senate primary runoff election in Alabama last night was called a lot sooner than I’d expected. It went pretty much the way all of the early indicators suggested when we previewed the final stretch of the race. Tommy Tuberville had been leading by double digits in the final independent polling conducted last week and it appears that those numbers were solid. NBC News was able to call the race fairly early despite the larger than normal number of absentee ballots and questions about how high the turnout would be in the middle of a COVID-19 uptick.
Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whom President Donald Trump ousted in 2018, lost his bid to reclaim his old U.S. Senate seat from Alabama.
Sessions conceded Tuesday night and urged Alabamians to stand behind former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville as the Republican nominee.
The Associated Press called the primary contest for Tuberville, who had been endorsed by Trump, at around 8:20 p.m. local time. Polls closed at 7 p.m.
Sessions congratulated Tuberville in a speech to supporters in Mobile. “He is our Republican nominee,” Sessions said. “We must stand behind him in November.”
The same poll that accurately predicted Tuberville’s margin of victory in the primary runoff also showed him with a significant lead over Democratic incumbent Doug Jones. As we discussed over the weekend, that may turn out to be an extremely significant factor for 2020. The Democrats have to pick up either three or four seats in the upper chamber (depending on whether or not Trump wins a second term) and losing Jones’ seat makes that an even steeper hill to climb.
The question Allahpundit asked last night was, “how Sessions will handle an embarrassing defeat.” Well, now we know. In the fashion of old-school party politics, he congratulated Tuberville and reminded his supporters that his opponent is now the nominee and everyone needs to stand behind him in November. He handled the entire affair with grace and still stayed loyal to Trump despite the bashing he took. (Associated Press)
Jeff Sessions took the stage Tuesday night near the Alabama gulf coast with the same certitude he’d displayed on another, bigger stage across town almost five years ago. Donald Trump’s vision, the former attorney general declared anew, is right for America…
“Let me say this about the president and our relationship. I leave with no regrets,” the 73-year-old Sessions said. “I was honored to serve the people of Alabama in the Senate and I was extraordinarily proud of the accomplishments we had as attorney general.”
That includes, he emphasized, stepping away from the Russia investigation.
Donald Trump has never gotten over Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the Russia, Russia, Russia investigation, a decision that Sessions said last night that he still has no regrets over. And many of the President’s supporters were clearly put off by that call as well. But in the end, we should at least appreciate Jeff Sessions’ ability to keep looking at the bigger picture and take the high road. He’s focused on making sure the President gets four more years in office because they obviously share a great deal in terms of conservative policy agenda points and because Joe Biden is the mirror opposite of those aspirations. And he’s going to campaign for Tuberville because he knows that we need to hold on to the Senate as well, and defeating Doug Jones will be crucial in that effort.
Jeff Sessions is 73-years-old now, and though he seems to remain in fine health, it will be no surprise if this turns out to be his final trip to the political rodeo. He’s put in a lifetime of service and has chosen to go out on a high note. For that, I think we can all afford to let bygones be bygones and offer him one final tip of the hat before he heads out the door.