The Hill's Campaign Report: Runoff elections in Texas, Alabama set for Tuesday

The Hill's Campaign Report: Runoff elections in Texas, Alabama set for Tuesday
© Getty Images

Welcome to The Hill’s Campaign Report, your daily rundown on all the latest news in the 2020 presidential, Senate and House races. Did someone forward this to you? Click here to subscribe.

We’re Julia Manchester, Max Greenwood and Jonathan Easley. Here’s what we’re watching
today on the campaign trail.



Runoff elections in Texas and Alabama on Tuesday are slated to resolve two races that have been left unsettled for months.

In Alabama, the Republican Senate runoff is on between former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsAlabama zeroes in on Richard Shelby's future Tuberville incorrectly says Gore was president-elect in 2000 Next attorney general must embrace marijuana law reforms MORE and former Auburn University coach Tommy Tuberville. While Sessions has not lost a race in his entire life, he is facing the biggest battle of his political life for his former Senate seat against Tuberville.

A poll from Montgomery’s Department of Political Science and Public Administration at Auburn University showed 47 percent of Republican voters in the state said they would vote for Tuberville, while 31 percent said they would back Sessions.

Additionally, Tuberville has the support of President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinnesota certifies Biden victory Trump tells allies he plans to pardon Michael Flynn: report Republican John James concedes in Michigan Senate race MORE, who has been relentless in his attacks against Sessions. Trump’s support will likely bode well for Tuberville due to Trump’s high approval rating in the deep red state.

Trump has his highest state approval rating in Alabama, where 89 percent of potential GOP primary voters said they approved of the president, according to a Morning Consult tracking poll.

The president hit Sessions in a tweet on Saturday, praising Tuberville and calling Sessions a “disaster who has let us all down.” Sessions hit back in a tweet, telling Trump that Alabama voters do not take direction from Washington.

The runoff comes after the state’s Republican primary in March resulted in Sessions and Tuberville receiving 31.6 and 33.4 percent of the vote, respectively. 


Meanwhile, an increasingly bitter primary runoff between Democrats M.J. Hegar and Royce West has complicated the party’s path to unseating Sen. John CornynJohn CornynCornyn says election outcome 'becoming increasingly clear': report Top GOP senator: Biden should be getting intel briefings GOP senator congratulates Biden, says Trump should accept results MORE (R-Texas) in November. Hegar, who has the backing of Senate Democratic leaders, was the favorite to win the initial primary in March. But a crowded field of contenders left her short of the 50 percent threshold needed to clinch the nomination outright, setting her up for a head-to-head matchup against West, a longtime state senator from Dallas.

The race has grown contentious in the final stretch. West has raised questions about Hegar’s party credentials and criticized her for voting in the 2016 Republican presidential primary. Hegar, a former Air Force helicopter pilot, has said that she cast her ballot for Carly Fiorina in the primary as a protest vote against Trump. And while Hegar sought for months to avoid attacking West, tensions burst into the open late last month when she suggested at a Democratic debate that the state lawmaker had used his office to enrich himself.

Democrats say their voters will quickly coalesce around whichever candidate wins the runoff on Tuesday. But privately, some complained that the runoff dragged on for far too long and prevented Democrats from spending resources against Cornyn for much of the summer.

Still, Democrats say that Texas is poised to come into play this year, pointing to former Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s (D-Texas) near miss in his 2018 bid against Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOcasio-Cortez, Cruz trade jabs over COVID-19 relief: People 'going hungry as you tweet from' vacation McSally, staff asked to break up maskless photo op inside Capitol Capitol's COVID-19 spike could be bad Thanksgiving preview MORE (D-Texas) and the state’s rapidly changing demographics. But Cornyn is a well-funded incumbent and is likely to prove a formidable incumbent to defeat in November.

-- Max Greenwood and Julia Manchester


Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenMinnesota certifies Biden victory Trump tells allies he plans to pardon Michael Flynn: report Biden says staff has spoken with Fauci: 'He's been very, very helpful' MORE’s campaign slammed President Trump’s criticism of the nation’s top infectious disease doctor Antony Fauci on Monday.

"Over 135,000 Americans have lost their lives and tens of millions have lost their jobs because Donald Trump spent the last six months disastrously mismanaging the worst public health crisis in a century, the whole time failing to heed the warnings and guidance of medical experts -- particularly Dr. Fauci," said Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates in a statement to reporters.

"Infections in the United States have skyrocketed, surpassing every other country in the world by far, specifically because of Trump's refusal to listen to science,” he added. 

“The president's disgusting attempt to pass the buck by blaming the top infectious disease expert in the country -- whose advice he repeatedly ignored and Joe Biden consistently implored him to take -- is yet another horrible and revealing failure of leadership as the tragic death toll continues to needlessly grow," Bates also said.

Meanwhile, Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneWashington braces for unpredictable post-election period Like it or not, a Trump self-pardon may be coming soon This election is headed to the courts, but Democrats have lawyers too MORE told Axios that he plans to campaign for Trump, saying he will do anything necessary to reelect the president “short of breaking the law.” The remark comes days after the president commuted Stone’s prison sentence. The Hill’s Rebecca Klar has more.

The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee (RNC) are expanding their ground operations ahead of the fall campaign season, hiring an additional 300 staffers and bringing its total total of paid field staffers to around 1,500. The Hill’s John Bowden reports.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) issued a framework for a predominantly virtual national convention, outlining how delegates will work and vote remotely amid the coronavirus pandemic. The convention is slated to take place next month in Milwaukee, but most of it will be held virtually. The Hill’s Kaelan Deese reports.


The Texas Supreme Court on Monday knocked down an effort by the state’s Republican Party to force an in-person convention in Houston after city officials called the event off due to the coronavirus pandemic. Rebecca has the story.


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is pumping $400,000 into an ad campaign to boost Rep. Roger MarshallRoger W. MarshallThe Hill's Morning Report - Too close to call Marshall wins Kansas Senate race Live updates: Democrats fight to take control of the Senate MORE (R-Kansas) ahead of Kansas’s August Senate primary. Marshall is among a handful of Republicans vying to replace retiring Rep. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsTrump's controversial Fed nominee stalled after Senate setback Business groups scramble to forge ties amid race for House Agriculture chair Republicans hold on to competitive Kansas House seat MORE (R-Kansas).

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) raised nearly $3.5 million in the second quarter of the year, making it his best fundraising quarter on record, his campaign said. He will also report $14.5 million in cash on hand. 





Biden: 48%

Trump: 42%


Biden: 46%

Trump: 46%


Trump: 46%


Biden: 45%


Biden: 48%

Trump: 43%


Trump: 51%

Biden:  42%


Trump: 50%

Biden: 43%



Mark Jones: 4 Texas GOP congressional primary runoffs to watch

Brad Bannon: Biden lets Trump be Trump

Antjuan Seawright: Black voters: We need all of them



July 14:

Alabama primary runoffs

Texas primary runoffs

Maine primaries


Aug. 4:

Arizona primaries

Kansas primaries

Michigan primaries

Missouri primaries

Washington primaries


Aug. 11:

Connecticut primaries

Minnesota primaries

Vermont primaries

Wisconsin primaries

Georgia primary runoffs


Aug. 18:

Alaska primaries

Florida primaries

Wyoming primaries


Aug. 17-20:

Democratic National Convention


Aug. 24-27:

Republican National Convention


Sept. 1:

Massachusetts primaries


Sept. 8:

New Hampshire primaries

Rhode Island primaries


Sept. 15:

Delaware primaries


Sept. 29:

First presidential debate


Oct. 7:

Vice presidential debate


Oct. 15:

Second presidential debate


Oct. 22:

Third presidential debate