Alabama delays March 31 GOP Senate runoff to July 14

Tommy Tuberville (left) and Jeff Sessions

Alabama is postponing its Republican U.S. Senate runoff race between Jeff Sessions and former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville because of the coronavirus.

Posted: Mar 18, 2020 5:01 PM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama is postponing its Republican primary runoff between former U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions and a rival because of the coronavirus, the governor announced Wednesday.

The runoff between Sessions and former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville will now be held on July 14, Ivey said. The winner of the GOP runoff will face Democratic Sen. Doug Jones in November. The delay also affects primary runoffs for state and local races.

Five other states also have postponed their primaries because of the coronavirus pandemic: Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland and Ohio. In announcing the decision, Ivey noted the White House recommendation that people avoid gatherings of 10 or more people.

“We would be taking a human health risk just by having people stand in line waiting to vote," she said. “I'm also aware that our faithful poll workers are often retired and many among those have the highest risk."

Alabama has 46 confirmed case of coronavirus, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health, which has cautioned that the number of people carrying the virus is probably higher.

Sessions is seeking to reclaim the Senate seat he held for 20 years before becoming President Donald Trump’s first attorney general. He stepped down from that post when his relationship with Trump soured over his recusal from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Sessions has been forced into a tight primary runoff. Tuberville led in the initial round, taking 33% of the vote to Sessions' 31%.

In a statement, Sessions said the “safety and health of Alabamians must take precedence" and challenged Tuberville to debate now that the runoff is months, rather than weeks, away.

“We intend to maintain our vigorous campaign up until the last day, even as we are careful to do so in a manner that puts the health and safety of the public first," Sessions said.

Tuberville did not issue an immediate comment on the decision.

The governor, in urging people to maintain social distancing, practiced what she preached at a news conference Wednesday by standing apart from Merrill and Attorney General Steve Marshall. Reporters were directed to sit in chairs spaced about 6 feet (1.8 meters) apart.

“Avoid large gatherings, even family and friends, and if you can, please stay home," Ivey said.

Unlike some states, Alabama does not have early voting or “no excuse” absentee voting. Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said voters who request an absentee ballot can check the “illness” box if they are concerned about contracting or spreading illness at the polls during the July 14 runoff.

Jones commended Ivey for the decision to delay the runoff, but said the effort to keep folks safe at home should include expanding voting access.

“It’s crucial that we expand access to the ballot box, enact early voting and expand opportunities to vote by mail in Alabama so that all eligible voters are able to participate in our democracy," Jones said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 59881

Reported Deaths: 1693
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5176106
DeSoto321527
Madison227253
Rankin211128
Harrison206732
Jackson187434
Jones174057
Forrest161551
Washington145732
Lauderdale132188
Lee119430
Neshoba119087
Lamar110512
Oktibbeha104434
Warren96425
Lowndes95830
Scott95117
Bolivar93332
Copiah90323
Sunflower90322
Panola89611
Lafayette8619
Holmes83546
Leflore82759
Pike81932
Grenada80520
Yazoo76411
Leake76225
Lincoln73539
Wayne73121
Pontotoc7167
Simpson70726
Monroe68750
Coahoma64810
Tate63822
Marion59418
Adams57825
Covington57611
Winston56615
Marshall5568
George5395
Newton51411
Union51313
Attala49524
Pearl River48036
Tallahatchie44610
Walthall43918
Chickasaw42719
Noxubee41410
Claiborne39913
Smith37413
Calhoun3738
Jasper3738
Clay36414
Alcorn3494
Prentiss3316
Hancock32414
Yalobusha31210
Lawrence3075
Itawamba30610
Tishomingo3063
Clarke29725
Tippah29412
Montgomery2913
Humphreys26511
Tunica2526
Carroll24511
Greene22611
Kemper22315
Quitman2201
Perry2137
Amite2045
Jefferson Davis1966
Webster19512
Jefferson1916
Wilkinson18312
Sharkey1801
Stone1463
Choctaw1254
Benton1240
Franklin1112
Issaquena211
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 85278

Reported Deaths: 1531
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson11465225
Mobile8466188
Montgomery6093141
Madison481725
Tuscaloosa385161
Baldwin309521
Shelby295431
Marshall287830
Unassigned256950
Lee245540
Morgan215614
Etowah188424
DeKalb165011
Elmore156237
Walker145063
Calhoun14389
Houston127512
Dallas126523
Russell11851
St. Clair116911
Franklin116520
Limestone115512
Cullman109011
Colbert105011
Lauderdale102812
Autauga98820
Escambia95215
Talladega86213
Chambers80738
Tallapoosa80178
Jackson7833
Dale76318
Butler74335
Blount7043
Coffee6955
Covington68420
Chilton6735
Pike6447
Barbour5545
Lowndes54524
Marion52824
Marengo50614
Clarke4799
Hale44825
Bullock43611
Winston42610
Perry4193
Wilcox4009
Randolph38610
Monroe3853
Conecuh36310
Sumter36118
Bibb3602
Pickens3599
Macon30412
Washington30411
Lawrence2980
Crenshaw2793
Choctaw27112
Greene23911
Henry2383
Cherokee2227
Geneva2160
Clay2005
Lamar1912
Fayette1675
Cleburne1121
Coosa892
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 70°
Columbus
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 66°
Oxford
Overcast
66° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 66°
Starkville
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 64°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather