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.

Cases: 314710

Reported Deaths: 7254
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21646260
Hinds20369416
Harrison17949309
Rankin13643278
Jackson13450246
Madison10113217
Lee9986174
Jones8384163
Forrest7689152
Lauderdale7198240
Lowndes6403148
Lamar623686
Lafayette6203119
Washington5341134
Bolivar4802132
Oktibbeha462998
Panola4596107
Pearl River4519146
Marshall4450103
Warren4393121
Pontotoc420872
Monroe4115133
Union411176
Neshoba4031176
Lincoln3969110
Hancock379586
Leflore3498125
Sunflower336290
Tate334784
Pike3327105
Scott316274
Alcorn313368
Yazoo311770
Itawamba300577
Copiah297465
Coahoma295579
Simpson295388
Tippah288768
Adams286982
Prentiss280060
Marion269380
Leake268473
Wayne262841
Grenada261587
Covington259881
George248148
Newton246862
Winston227581
Tishomingo227067
Jasper221148
Attala214473
Chickasaw208057
Holmes189174
Clay185554
Stone182833
Tallahatchie178941
Clarke178080
Calhoun170932
Yalobusha164638
Smith162534
Walthall134245
Greene130633
Lawrence128724
Montgomery127142
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123142
Carroll121829
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107133
Tunica105726
Claiborne102430
Benton100025
Humphreys96733
Kemper95828
Franklin83923
Quitman81116
Choctaw76418
Wilkinson67531
Jefferson65728
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 539829

Reported Deaths: 11038
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson798271529
Mobile41261809
Madison35132506
Tuscaloosa25915455
Shelby25294249
Montgomery24705593
Baldwin21392310
Lee15987172
Calhoun14569319
Morgan14422280
Etowah13918353
Marshall12275225
Houston10641282
Elmore10147206
Limestone10065151
St. Clair9946245
Cullman9761194
Lauderdale9457243
DeKalb8865188
Talladega8339176
Walker7260278
Autauga7001108
Jackson6836112
Blount6771139
Colbert6320135
Coffee5578118
Dale4876113
Russell445138
Chilton4369113
Franklin426282
Covington4138118
Tallapoosa4044153
Escambia394777
Chambers3590123
Dallas3568153
Clarke351461
Marion3137101
Pike311977
Lawrence302698
Winston275773
Bibb264564
Geneva254078
Marengo249665
Pickens234862
Barbour232056
Hale223978
Butler219069
Fayette212662
Henry189643
Cherokee184645
Randolph182442
Monroe178141
Washington167739
Macon161150
Clay157157
Crenshaw153557
Cleburne149641
Lamar143236
Lowndes140553
Wilcox127430
Bullock123242
Conecuh110829
Coosa109228
Perry107826
Sumter104932
Greene92634
Choctaw61024
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Mostly Cloudy
79° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 80°
Columbus
Partly Cloudy
80° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 80°
Oxford
Partly Cloudy
79° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 80°
Starkville
Partly Cloudy
79° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 79°
High pressure will continue to dominate our weather forecast for the end of the weekend. We will see our area filled with plenty of sunshine but clouds will be on the increase into the evening hours. There will be some changes for the start work week in our weather forecast as low pressure brings back some chances for showers and thunderstorms.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather