President Trump endorsed former college football coach Tommy Tuberville in the Republican Senate primary in Alabama Senate race, rebuking his former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is also a candidate for the seat he held for over three terms.
“Tommy Tuberville is running for the U.S. Senate from the Great State of Alabama,” wrote Trump on Twitter Tuesday night. “Tommy was a terrific head football coach at Auburn University. He is a REAL LEADER who will never let MAGA/KAG, or our Country, down! Tommy will protect your Second Amendment (which is under siege), is strong on Crime and the Border, and truly LOVES our Military and our Vets. He will be a great Senator for the people of Alabama. Coach Tommy Tuberville, a winner, has my Complete and Total Endorsement. I love Alabama!”
Tuberville and Sessions will compete in a runoff on March 31 after neither won a majority in last Tuesday’s primary. Tuberville got 33 percent of Republican voters to 31 percent for Sessions in the seven-candidate race. The winner will face Democratic incumbent Doug Jones in November, who won the seat in a 2017 special election after Sessions vacated it to serve as Trump’s attorney general.
Trump endorsed Luther Strange in the 2017 primary, but Strange lost to Judge Roy Moore in the runoff. Moore, beset by allegations of misconduct toward young women, lost to Jones in a tight race.
Sessions left the Justice Department in November 2018 after Trump mounted a campaign on Twitter to force him out, heaping abuse on him for recusing himself from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Sessions had been a prominent backer and adviser to Trump’s campaign and couldn’t plausibly oversee the investigation, turning it over to his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel. Trump treated this as a betrayal by Sessions.
Despite the president’s frustrations with him, Sessions has tied himself to Trump in the primary and suggested Tuberville hasn’t been supportive enough of the president. But Tuberville has been effusive in his praise for the president and dogged in pursuing the endorsement in a state where Trump had 62 percent approval in a poll last month.
Tuberville is a big name in Alabama, but not for politics: He was head football coach for the Auburn Tigers for 10 seasons, including a 13-0 season that resulted in a No. 2 finish in the polls in 2004. He has also coached at Ole Miss, Texas Tech and Cincinnati, where he stepped down in 2016 after a 4-8 season.
“Looking forward to helping you drain the swamp and [Keep America Great]!” wrote Tuberville on Twitter following Trump’s endorsement.
Read more from Yahoo News: