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 SessionsConservatives moving to impeach Rosenstein soon: report Senators urge DOJ to probe whether Russians posed as Islamic extremist hackers to harass US military families The Hill's Morning Report — Trump readies for Putin summit: 'He’s not my enemy’ 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 McConnellDoug Jones walks tightrope on Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh gets questionnaires for confirmation hearing Dem infighting erupts over Supreme Court pick 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 BrooksLatino groups intervene in Alabama census lawsuit Alabama GOP congressman preps possible Senate bid against Doug Jones Loyalty to Donald Trump is new normal for the Republican Party 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.