Trump's endorsement power tested as Alabama voters go to the polls


Trump has endorsed Tommy Tuberville against his former Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Tuesday's runoff.

Donald Trump's endorsement power will face another test on Tuesday, when former Sen. Jeff Sessions faces off against former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville in a runoff election for the Republican nomination in Alabama's Senate race.

Trump has endorsed Tuberville over his former attorney general.

Trump has regularly attacked Sessions, one of his earliest supporters in the 2016 election, who is running to reclaim the Senate seat he vacated to he join the administration in 2017.

Trump has called Sessions a "disaster" who "let our Country down."

Trump turned on Sessions after he recused himself from taking action in special prosecutor Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the election. Trump blames Sessions for disloyalty for not preventing the investigation from moving forward.

As an act of political revenge, Trump is backing Tuberville, calling him a "a winner who will never let you down."

Polls have shown Tuberville in the lead, with the results of a survey of registered voters in the state conducted in the first week of July by Auburn University at Montgomery showing Tuberville up 47% to Sessions' 31%, with 22% of voters undecided.

But Tuberville has encountered a rough patch in the final stretch of the race.

A rally Trump planned for early July to boost Tuberville's candidacy was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the threat of a large event leading to spread of the coronavirus.

On July 5, the New York Times ran a story detailing Tuberville's involvement as co-owner a hedge fund that was found to have defrauded investors. Tuberville claimed to have been "an investor like the rest of them"; the other owner was sentenced to jail in the case.

Trump has been on a losing streak when it comes to congressional endorsements.

In June, three GOP congressional hopefuls Trump endorsed lost their primaries, ending the perfect endorsement streak Trump had touted.

The winner of the Alabama Republican primary runoff will face Democratic Sen. Doug Jones in November. Jones won a special election to fill Sessions' spot in 2018 when he defeated credibly accused child molester Judge Roy Moore.

But Jones is the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent up for reelection in 2020, in a deep-red state that still backs Trump.

The Auburn University poll found both Sessions and Tuberville with leads over Jones in head-to-head match-ups.

Inside Elections, a nonpartisan political handicapping outlet, says Jones is an underdog, rating the race as lean Republican.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.