Updated at 12:15 a.m.
Former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville and former U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions are heading to a runoff for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, according to preliminary results from the Associated Press.
With 90% of precincts counted as of 12:15 a.m., Tuberville had 33.4% of the vote. Sessions had 31.6% and Bradley Byrne had 25.2%. No candidate was near the 50% needed to avoid a runoff.
Tuberville and Sessions were in a tight race with seven competitors for the Senate seat. Voters will have a chance to pick between the two on March 31 in the runoff election.
Both candidates praised President Donald Trump throughout the campaign and neither has earned the president's full-fledged support.
Tuberville hosted a "The People vs. The Swamp Tour" across the state, mirroring Trump's rhetoric at speaking events.
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Sessions also made it a point to align himself with the president, telling a group of Opelika residents that he wants "to help the president" and make sure he's "successful."
Roy Moore, the former Alabama state supreme court chief justice who was the Republican nominee during the 2017 special Senate election, placed a distant fourth.
Sessions served as Alabama’s junior senator for 20 years before becoming the 84th attorney general for the U.S. in 2017.
Tuberville was the head football coach at Auburn from 1999-2008.
March will likely continue to bring Trump-loving remarks from both candidates as they vie for a chance to run against Democratic Sen. Doug Jones.
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