Sessions to face Tuberville in Alabama GOP Senate runoff

Sessions to face Tuberville in Alabama GOP Senate runoff
© Stefani Reynolds

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions advanced to the Republican runoff in his bid to regain his old Senate seat in Alabama.

Sessions will face off against former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville in the March 31 runoff after no Republican candidate earned more than 50 percent of the vote in Tuesday's primary, according to The Associated Press.

Despite Sessions holding the Senate seat for 20 years, the GOP primary race remained close as results came in Tuesday night, with Tuberville and Sessions rotating in and out of first place.

The tight vote count underscores that Sessions could face a tough four-week slog as he tries to lock down the nomination.

Sessions was ousted as attorney general in 2018 after his relationship with President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden adds to vote margin over Trump after Milwaukee County recount Krebs says allegations of foreign interference in 2020 election 'farcical'  Republicans ready to become deficit hawks again under a President Biden MORE soured because of the former senator's decision to recuse himself from the FBI investigation into Russia’s election meddling and the Trump campaign.

Trump’s relationship with Sessions has loomed over the race, but he’s largely kept his distance publicly during the Republican primary. Sessions and Tuberville, as well as Rep. Bradley ByrneBradley Roberts ByrneLawmakers grill Pentagon over Trump's Germany drawdown Bottom line Jerry Carl wins GOP Alabama runoff to replace Rep. Bradley Byrne MORE (R-Ala.), who finished in third place, touted themselves during the primary as the candidate most aligned with Trump.

Tuberville, speaking to supporters on Tuesday night, referred to Sessions as a "cut and run" politician, an apparent reference to his relationship with Trump.

Whoever wins the runoff election will face off against Democratic Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), who is widely viewed as the most vulnerable Democratic senator.

Jones won his seat in 2017 when he beat GOP Senate nominee Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreAlabama zeroes in on Richard Shelby's future Long-shot Espy campaign sees national boost in weeks before election Ocasio-Cortez slams Tulsi Gabbard for amplifying ballot harvesting video MORE, who faced multiple accusations of sexual misconduct with teenage girls when he was in his 30s. Moore also ran again for the party's nomination this year but lost on Tuesday night.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) on Tuesday night referred to both Tuberville and Sessions as "deeply flawed."

"Just like we saw last time, this runoff will extend a bitter, divisive feud while Senator Jones will continue to outraise his Republican opponents and is focused on bringing people together," DSCC spokeswoman Helen Kalla said in a statement.

The Alabama Senate race is ranked by The Cook Political Report as "leans Republican."

Updated at 11:45 p.m.