Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions has lost his bid to run for the Senate after a candidate backed by President Donald Trump defeated him in Alabama.
Tommy Tuberville, a former football coach, will face incumbent, Democrat Doug Jones, in November’s election.
Mr Sessions was the first senator to back Mr Trump as president, but their relationship soured and he was forced out as attorney general in 2018.
Conceding defeat, he said he had no regrets over the decisions he had made.
He told his supporters he “did the right thing” in recusing himself from investigations into allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election – a move his boss never forgave him for.
Primaries were also held in Maine and Texas on Tuesday.
- Democrats in Maine chose the speaker of the state’s house of representatives, Sara Gideon, as their candidate to take on Republican Senator Susan Collins in November
- In Texas, Democrats narrowly voted for former Air Force helicopter pilot MJ Hegar over Royce West, who was hoping to become the state’s first black senator
Who is Trump’s candidate in Alabama?
Mr Trump tweeted his delight at Tuesday’s result, saying Tommy Tuberville had “WON big” and would make “a GREAT Senator”.
Mr Tuberville, 65, was a football coach at multiple US colleges for decades before retiring in 2016 as one of the top 50 most-winning coaches of all time.
An outspoken conservative and Trump supporter, he has made appearances on Fox News and was among those calling for Barack Obama to release his birth certificate when some questioned his qualification to run for president.
Mr Tuberville told his supporters that Mr Trump had called to congratulate him and added that he considered him to be “the best president in my lifetime”, Reuters reports.
During his campaign, he had frequently portrayed Mr Sessions as a weak candidate who had “quit on the president” and “failed Alabama”.
Endorsing him over Mr Sessions following the initial primary vote in March, President Trump described Mr Tuberville as “a REAL LEADER who will never let MAGA/KAG (Make America Great Again/Keep America Great), or our country, down!”
Ahead of the runoff, he had described Mr Sessions in a tweet as “a disaster who has let us all down. We don’t want him back in Washington!”
What’s the Trump-Sessions row about?
Jeff Sessions, 73, had represented the US Senate from Alabama for 20 years and was known for his conservative views, coming under fire from Democrats over his hard-line stance on immigration.
After he became the first US senator to endorse Mr Trump for president, Mr Sessions became the vice-chairman of the White House transition team and eventually gave up his long-time Senate seat to become Mr Trump’s first attorney general in 2017.
But he fell out of Mr Trump’s good graces a year later when he refused to oversee the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election. That inquiry, led by special counsel Robert Mueller, has repeatedly been deemed a “witch hunt” by the president.
Mr Sessions recused himself after Democrats accused him of failing to disclose contacts with the Russian ambassador during his attorney general confirmation hearing (which he later claimed he had forgotten about).
Since then, Mr Trump has not held back in his criticisms of his former ally, saying choosing Mr Sessions was the “biggest mistake” of his presidency.
Mr Sessions has criticised “juvenile insults” against him, but on Tuesday he urged his supporters to back Mr Tuberville and Mr Trump, saying: “We must not cede our nation to the mob or globalist forces. We have borders, laws and history that must be defended.”
He also said he felt good about leaving elective office with “my integrity intact”.
“I took the road less travelled, didn’t try to excuse myself or get in a fight or undermine the leader of our country, and the great work he has to do. That was an honourable path, I believe.”