Key takeaways from primary elections and runoffs in Texas, Alabama and Maine
Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions came up short in a fight for his political life. Democrats picked their candidate to take on Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins in the fall.
Those were a few of the top takeaways from a slate of primary elections and runoffs Tuesday with down-ballot contests in Maine, Alabama and Texas
Jeff Sessions loses to Trump-backed GOP opponent in Alabama
Sessions lost a US Senate GOP primary runoff to former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville, CNN projects, a major blow to the former attorney general, who had faced fierce opposition to his candidacy from President Donald Trump.
Tuberville, who was endorsed by the President, will now advance to the general election as the Republican candidate set to take on incumbent Democratic Sen. Doug Jones in November. The race is likely to be the Republican Party’s best pickup opportunity of the cycle.
Jones, who pulled off an upset in the deep red state in a 2017 special election, is widely viewed as the most vulnerable Senate Democrat facing reelection in 2020.
The outcome of Tuesday’s GOP runoff race marks a significant political defeat for Sessions, who had been fighting to reclaim a Senate seat that he had previously held.
Sessions was the first US senator to endorse Trump in the 2016 presidential race and was once a prominent figure in the Trump administration as the top official leading the Justice Department.
But he fell out of favor with the President and became a target of Trump’s attacks after he recused himself while serving as attorney general from the FBI probe into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.
Sessions became an underdog in the fight for his old job after losing the support of the President.
Trump was quick to celebrate the victory by his candidate of choice on Tuesday night, tweeting, “Tommy Tuberville WON big against Jeff Sessions. Will be a GREAT Senator for the incredible people of Alabama. @DougJones is a terrible Senator who is just a Super Liberal puppet for Schumer & Pelosi. Represents Alabama poorly. On to November 3rd.”
Democrats pick their candidate to take on Susan Collins in Maine
Another highly anticipated November Senate race will take place in Maine. Republican Sen. Susan Collins is defending her seat in the state in what is expected to be a hard-fought battle.
Democrats picked their candidate to take on Collins on Tuesday, with CNN projecting that state House Speaker Sara Gideon will win the primary.
Maine’s Democratic Senate primary featured three candidates and voters had the chance to rank all of them by preference in the state’s ranked-choice voting system, which was used at the federal level in Maine for the first time in 2018.
Gideon had the most money and highest profile, while activist Betsy Sweet, who had finished third in the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial primary, and lawyer Bre Kidman were trying to run to her left.
National Democrats have made Collins a top target in their effort to try to take back the Senate majority in 2020. The senator is facing the toughest reelection of her career a race that the newsletter Inside Elections rates a “Toss-up.”