Sessions in close race for Alabama GOP Senate nomination: poll

A new poll shows a tight race between Republicans seeking to unseat Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.). The poll from Mason-Dixon Polling and Strategy published in the Alabama Daily News on Wednesday shows former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsMcCabe, Rosenstein spar over Russia probe Rosenstein takes fire from Republicans in heated testimony Rosenstein defends Mueller appointment, role on surveillance warrants MORE at 31 percent followed by former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville at 29 percent and Rep. Bradley ByrneBradley Roberts ByrneOvernight Defense: Pentagon chief says he opposes invoking Insurrection Act for protests | White House dodges on Trump’s confidence in Esper | ‘Angry and appalled’ Mattis scorches Trump Republicans stand by Esper after public break with Trump Democrats press OSHA official on issuing an Emergency Temporary Standard MORE (R-Ala.) at 17 percent. Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreSessions goes after Tuberville’s coaching record in challenging him to debate The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip Sessions fires back at Trump over recusal: ‘I did my duty & you’re damn fortunate I did” MORE, whom Jones beat in 2017, polled at 5 percent.

“Sessions is facing a much tougher fight to win the Republican nomination than most political insiders likely anticipated,” Brad Coker of Mason-Dixon Polling and Strategy told the Daily News.

The poll also showed Jones trailing Sessions, Tuberville and Byrne in hypothetical head-to-head match-ups.

In the hypothetical general election match-ups, Sessions beats Jones by 13 percentage points, while Tuberville and Byrne outpace Jones by 8 points and 9 points, respectively.

Almost 90 percent of black respondents said they would vote for Jones over Sessions or any other GOP candidate. The same was largely true in 2017, though Jones also benefited from a Republican establishment who rejected Moore, who was accused of sexual misconduct and assault, including one instance with a minor. 

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However, last year Jones faced a dispute with his state’s Democratic Party over control of the organization when the current chair, Nancy Worley, revived allegations of racial discrimination after Jones called for her to step down. Both Jones and Worley are white though their main allies are black.

During his first term, Jones has been faced with a presidential impeachment trial, in which he voted to convict the president on articles of impeachment despite polls showing that the decision was unpopular among voters in his state. Sessions, a former Trump Cabinet member, represents the opposite side of that spectrum.

Earlier this week Trump predicted Jones would lose the seat after he “cast a partisan vote for the Impeachment Hoax.”

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Jones has raised $7.6 million, according to the Federal Election Commission, compared to Tuberville’s $2.3 million and about $360,000 for Sessions. Whoever Jones faces after the primary on Super Tuesday will likely receive a financial boost from the party. 

The poll surveyed 625 registered Alabama voters from Feb. 4-6 and has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.