The Alabama runoff election for US Senate was supposed to have been at the end of March, but the pandemic pushed it off for more than three months. Now, Tuesday is the big day for former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, 73, and ex-Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville, 65, facing off for the GOP slot to run against Democrat incumbent Doug Jones in November. The Montgomery Advertiser notes the race, one of the GOP's best chances at flipping a Senate seat to red, could go either way. A poll from early July put Tuberville 16 percentage points ahead of Sessions, but 22% of those surveyed were undecided, and Sessions has been aggressively campaigning. Analysts also note everything has been thrown into chaos by COVID-19. "I'm usually pretty good picking turnout within two to three points," one GOP consultant says. But "we could be sitting at 10% or we could be sitting at 30%."
The two candidates' policies don't differ much, but Tuberville has the added push of President Trump rallying for him. Trump, who's been miffed with Sessions since he recused himself as attorney general from an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, last week called Sessions "a disaster who has let us all down," noting "we don't want him back in Washington" (Sessions had held the senate seat Jones currently has for two decades before he was tapped to be AG). Tuberville has remained low-key during his campaign, opting not to debate and staying away from the media, NPR notes, though the Wall Street Journal reports both campaigns turned down requests for candidate interviews. Sessions, for his part, doesn't seem terribly worried about his chances, or about Trump's lack of support. "The people of Alabama will decide this race," he says. (Read more Alabama stories.)