And that’s a wrap for Jeff Sessions.
The once senator and former Attorney General has just been beaten in the Alabama GOP primary by former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville. And he lost by a lot. As the New York Times reported, Sessions lost 37% to 63%.
Now, usually, a loss such as this, for nearly any seat in either the House or Senate, wouldn’t be such a big deal. After all, it’s not as though terms for congress members are all that long, leaving the opportunity to try again or take another seat in the near future.
However, this loss for Sessions is likely the end of his long political career as we know it.
Sessions was first elected to the Senate in 1996 when he won the seat by a mere seven points in a race that was thought to have favored the Democrats.
And he continued to hold that seat until 2016 when just elected President Donald Trump appointed him as his Attorney General.
Sessions had been the first Republican senator to endorse the would-be president in 2015 publicly and that loyalty was rewarded.
However, that position was short-lived for Sessions. When the Russiagate probe began, nearly as soon as Trump’s term in the White House had, Sessions wavered in that loyalty. Instead of standing devout to his president, he was quick to recuse himself of the entire matter.
And Trump has never forgiven him for it.
President Trump eventually fired Sessions from his position as AG, saying it had been “a mistake” to hire him in the first place.
Trump recently told USA Today, “He recused himself right at the beginning, just about on day one of a ridiculous scam, the Mueller scam, the Russia, Russia, Russia scam. And Jeff didn’t have the courage to stay there. He didn’t know about Russia. He had nothing to do, but he immediately ran for the hills.”
But that hasn’t stopped the man from trying to get back into politics. Sessions thought to pick up his old seat in the Senate this year. But he was met with quite the opposition, which is something he is rather unused to. In fact, besides his earliest win of only seven points, his narrowest win has been by a whopping 19 point, back in 2002.
His opponent, Tommy Tuberville, even from the near get-go, appeared to be leading the race. In early March, when the first primary was held, Tuberville beat Sessions 33% to 31%. And that was before President Trump endorsed Tuberville and once again doused Sessions in shame.
However, since neither candidate had received at least 50% of the vote, another primary was held, which was, of course, delayed by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
By mid-June, an internal polled showed Tuberville winning by about six points. Mere weeks later, though, Tuberville was up by about 16 points.
However, it is essential to note that even in the blood-red state of Alabama, Trump endorsement of a candidate doesn’t always mean he or she will win, primary or otherwise.
Take the 2017 Senate election in the state, for example. Trump heartedly endorsed Luther Strange for the Sessions-then vacant seat. However, the public chose his opponent Roy Moore for the primary winner.
Naturally, Trump then endorsed Moore, even though other Republicans who got a whiff of scandal ran. Once again, the public made a different choice, putting Democrat Doug Jones in the seat.
But this year, it would seem, at least so far, that Trump’s endorsement is carrying at least some weight. And as far as the polls are concerned, it seems he may take it all the way in for the win, although it would be a tight win. According to one recent internal poll in Alabama, Tuberville is beating incumbent Doug Jones by a mere three points.
The same poll suggested that Sessions would lose by a whopping 22 points.
This particular race is seen as one of the Republican’s only chances to win back, or at least pickup, a Senate seat this year. Luckily for us, the race typically leans to the right quite a bit.