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Former attorney general Jeff Sessions on Tuesday lost a primary runoff for his former Alabama Senate seat, after President Trump endorsed his opponent and heaped scorn on Sessions in the months and weeks leading up to the contest.
Following his appointment as attorney general in 2017, Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation to avoid an apparent conflict of interest, given that Trump-campaign officials who Sessions had worked with were under investigation. Trump publicly criticized Sessions after his recusal, and fired the former Alabama senator in November 2018.
Sessions decided to attempt a return to the Senate, but on Tuesday lost the primary runoff against former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville. Sessions received 39.3 percent of the vote, while Tuberville won 60.7 percent.
“I want to congratulate Tommy Tuberville,” Sessions said in a concession speech. “We must stand behind him in November. [Senator] Doug Jones does not need to be our voice in Washington. He wishes to see the policies of Nancy Pelosi prevail over conservative Alabama principles.”
The race focused in large part on Sessions’ recusal. The former attorney general defended his recusal even as he voiced support for Trump and predicted he would win the general election this coming November. Trump, for his part, endorsed Tuberville and mocked Sessions when the primary finished inconclusively in March and led to the runoff.
“This is what happens to someone who loyally gets appointed Attorney General of the United States & then doesn’t have the wisdom or courage to stare down & end the phony Russia Witch Hunt. Recuses himself on FIRST DAY in office, and the Mueller Scam begins!” Trump wrote on Twitter on March 4.