President Donald Trump will head to the hometown of his former Attorney General Jeff Sessions next month to hold a rally for Sessions’ opponent in the Republican Senate runoff—former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville—who already has a strong lead in polling over Sessions, as the former Attorney General looks to reclaim the seat he left three years ago when he took the job in the Trump administration.
Trump plans to travel to Mobile, Alabama—Sessions’ hometown—to hold a rally for Tuberville some time in the days leading up the July 14 runoff election, CNN reported.
The president typically holds rallies for Republican candidates as a way to boost their standing in the polls, but it doesn’t seem that Tuberville will really need that much of a push to beat Sessions.
Tuberville finished at the top in the first round of the Republican primary, with his 33.4% of the vote besting the 31.6% Sessions polled—a poor showing for someone who represented the state in the U.S. Senate for over 20 years.
A poll released last month also showed Tuberville with a commanding 23 point lead over Sessions in the runoff.
But there is no love lost between Trump and Sessions, who was his first Attorney General, especially after Sessions recused himself as lead of the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election—Trump openly mocked Sessions for that decision and said he regretted picking him as Attorney General.
The winner of the runoff will face Democratic incumbent Doug Jones, who won the seat in a 2017 special election after his opponent was plagued by allegations of sexual misconnect; Jones is seen as the weakest Democratic Senate incumbent heading into the November elections.
Trump is extremely popular in the state of Alabama—a state he seems almost certain to win this year, after getting more votes in 2016 than any presidential candidate that’s ever appeared on the ballot in Alabama. As such, there’s been little in the way of polling between Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden in the state. An Alabama Daily News/Mason-Dixon poll did survey the race earlier this year, though, showing Trump had a 20 point lead over Biden.
After initially dismissing debates by saying “I don’t know if they help much” before the first round of the primary, Sessions has reversed course and publicly challenged Tuberville to a series of debates. Late last month, Sessions suggested a series of five debates and accused Tuberville of “running away.” The former football coach would decline the offer.
“If coaching taught me anything, it’s that you don’t let the losing team dictate the game when you’re sitting on a lead,” Tuberville said in a statement.