Tuberville was leading Sessions 63 percent to 37 percent with 35 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press.
The former football coach will go on to face Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) in November. Jones is considered the most vulnerable Democrat facing reelection in 2020 in a race The Cook Political Report rates as “Lean Republican.”
The runoff comes months after the state’s Republican primary in March, when Sessions received 31.6 percent of the vote and Tuberville garnered 33.4 percent. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.) came in third with 25 percent of the vote.
Sessions congratulated Tuberville in a speech.
“I wanna congratulate Tommy Tuberville. He ran a really firm, solid race. He was focused on his goal and winning. He had a plan to do so,” Sessions said. “He is our Republican nominee and we must stand by him in November.”
The loss marks the first for Sessions in his political career, spanning more than 30 years in Alabama, including as attorney general and as senator for two decades.
Sessions has faced a barrage of public attacks from President Trump since 2017, when, as the administration’s first attorney general, he recused himself from an investigation into Russia’s election meddling. Sessions resigned in 2018 after an acrimonious relationship with Trump.
Trump continued his attacks on Sessions during the Senate primary and runoff, and he endorsed Tuberville, a move that likely helped boost the coach-turned-politician to victory.
Trump has his highest state approval rating in Alabama, where 89 percent of potential GOP primary voters said they approved of the president, according to a Morning Consult tracking poll.
The former attorney general has sought to defend himself against Trump’s attacks, saying in a tweet on Saturday that Alabamians would make up their own minds.
“I’ve taken the road less traveled. Not sought fame or fortune. My honor and integrity are far more important than these juvenile insults. Your scandal-ridden candidate is too cowardly to debate. As you know, Alabama does not take orders from Washington,” Sessions said.
Sessions said he was leaving with no regret, saying he had saved “the president’s bacon” by following the law and recusing himself from the Russia investigation.
“I leave with no regrets. I was honored to serve the people of Alabama in the Senate and I was extraordinarily proud of the accomplishments we had as attorney general,” he said in his speech.
“On recusal, I followed the law. I did the right thing, and I saved the president’s bacon in the process. Any other action to try to squelch an investigation in that environment would not have worked. It would have really been a catastrophe and I’m so glad it finally ended after a prolonged time and the president has been cleared,” he added.
Trump earlier on Tuesday had congratulated Tuberville for his win.
“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,” Trump said in a tweet.
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SOURCE: The Hill – JULIA MANCHESTER