Jeff Sessions defeated by Tommy Tuberville in Alabama primary runoff

The results of a key runoff election are in, and President Donald Trump is celebrating.

Fox News reports that first-time politician and former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville defeated former Senator and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Alabama’s Republican Senate primary. 

Tuberville defeats Sessions

What many had predicted — a Tuberville landslide — became reality on Tuesday. Just 90 minutes after the polls closed, the Associated Press projected a Tuberville win.

Even though Sessions possessed vastly more political experience than his competitor, having already served 12 years in the U.S. Senate, the outcome was no surprise. The reason is that in this race, Sessions wasn’t really facing Tuberville — he was facing President Trump.

The president famously soured on Sessions back in 2017 when, after becoming Trump’s attorney general, he recused himself from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, as The New York Times reported. President Trump never truly forgave Sessions for that decision, and in November of 2018, the attorney general was effectively forced to resign.

During the intervening months, Sessions was the subject of voluminous presidential tweets, a trend which continued after he announced that he would seek the Alabama Senate seat.

“Donald Trump likes me”

Angi Stalnaker, an Alabama-based Republican political consultant, explained to Fox News just how little Tuberville actually had to do to win this race.

“Jeff Sessions allowed the narrative to become Jeff Sessions versus Donald Trump,” she said. “Tommy Tuberville really has nothing to do with this race at all. He’s not making speeches. He’s not doing debates. His only argument is Donald Trump likes me. If a light pole had run against Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump would have endorsed the light pole.”

Indeed, right up until the election, Tuberville simply kept his “Trump likes me” strategy going, tweeting an audio clip from the president saying, “Tommy Tuberville will have a call direct line in to my office!”

Onward to November

Given that the race between Sessions and Tuberville had been touted in the media as something of a referendum on Trump, the president’s delight at the result was understandably evident, with the commander in chief tweeting Tuesday evening, “Tommy Tuberville WON big against Jeff Sessions. Will be a GREAT Senator for the incredible people of Alabama.”

The president went on to take aim at Tuberville’s general election opponent, Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL), to whom Trump referred as “a Super Liberal puppet for Schumer [and] Pelosi.”

Only time will tell whether Tuberville, with the president’s enthusiastic backing, can make it all the way to Washington, D.C. this November.

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