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 Sessions Senate outlook slides for GOP Supreme Court blocks order that relaxed voting restrictions in Alabama Justice Dept. considering replacing outgoing US attorney in Brooklyn with Barr deputy: report 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 McConnellClash looms over next coronavirus relief bill McGrath campaign staffers to join union Romney, Collins, Murkowski won't attend GOP convention 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 BrooksOvernight Defense: Senate confirms US military's first African American service chief | Navy to ban display of Confederate flags | GOP lawmakers urge Trump not to cut troops in Germany Republicans urge Trump to reject slashing US troop presence in Germany Conservative lawmakers press Trump to suspend guest worker programs for a year 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.