Trump touts endorsement of second-place finisher in Alabama primary

Trump touts endorsement of second-place finisher in Alabama primary
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President Trump on Wednesday touted "additional support" for Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.) following his endorsement in Alabama's special Senate election, despite Strange coming in second place in the GOP primary the night before.

Strange, who was appointed to the Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsFederal judge rules Trump defunding sanctuary cities 'unconstitutional on its face' FBI informant gathered years of evidence on Russian push for US nuclear fuel deals, including Uranium One, memos show Alabama election has GOP racing against the clock MORE, finished behind former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore in the Republican primary on Tuesday.

Strange's campaign and allies leaned heavily on the Trump endorsement in the final days, pushing back against claims that Strange serves as a tool of the Washington establishment and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellAlabama election has GOP racing against the clock McConnell PAC demands Moore return its money Klobuchar taking over Franken's sexual assault bill MORE (R-Ky.).

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Trump recorded a robocall for Strange one day before the primary, even as Moore and Alabama Rep. Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson BrooksGOP rep rushes down stairs as reporter asks about Roy Moore's accusers GOP lawmaker backing Moore: Conservative agenda 'more important than contested sexual allegations’ Alabama rep: I'm still backing Moore because he'll 'vote right' MORE (R) both tried to paint themselves as the most pro-Trump candidate.

Moore won among primary voters, projected to beat Strange by 9 points, 41 percent to 32 percent.

Trump also congratulated them both earlier Wednesday morning.

Since neither of the two GOP candidates received more than 50 percent support, they are set to move on to a runoff election in late September, before the general election in December.

In February, then-Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) appointed Strange to the seat after Sessions was confirmed to his top Justice Department position. McConnell and the National Republican Senatorial Committee are treating him as the incumbent. 

“Senator Luther Strange has done a great job representing the people of the Great State of Alabama. He has my complete and total endorsement!” Trump tweeted last week.