Former US attorney general Jeff Sessions has lost the Republican nomination for his old Senate seat in Alabama to an ex-football coach endorsed by President Donald Trump.
Mr Sessions was defeated in Tuesday’s Republican run-off by former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville, who the president tweeted “will be a GREAT Senator”.
The 73-year-old had held the seat for two decades before resigning to become Mr Trump’s attorney general in 2017.
He resigned in November 2018, announcing it to the president in a letter which said the move came at “your request”.
The decision to leave his post came after he endured more than a year of blistering and personal attacks over his recusal from the investigation into ties between Russia and Mr Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Mr Sessions was gracious to his opponent and to his former boss as he stood alone on stage in a hotel meeting room in his hometown of Mobile, Alabama, as members of his family looked on.
He said: “He is our Republican nominee. We must stand behind him in November.”
Wow, just called! @TTuberville – 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.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2020
He said he remains a supporter of the president’s agenda but made clear that he has no regrets: “I leave elected office with my integrity intact.”
But Mr Sessions’s statements of continued loyalty have never been enough for Mr Trump, who endorsed Mr Tuberville after Alabama’s March primary.
He declared on Twitter at the time that Mr Sessions had “let our Country down” and that Mr Tuberville would be the “true supporter of our #MAGA agenda!”.
He continued the broadsides throughout the primary campaign, and he crowed on Tuesday evening on Twitter shortly after The Associated Press called the race for Mr Tuberville.
“Tommy Tuberville WON big against Jeff Sessions,” Trump wrote. “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.”
The 65-year-old Mr Tuberville is now positioned to put up a strong challenge against Democratic Senator Doug Jones.