Alabama is looking to postpone its Senate runoff elections on March 31 while fears of the coronavirus spreading escalates as the state reached 22 confirmed cases Sunday evening.
John Merrill, Alabama’s secretary of State, said Sunday he is looking to delay the primary runoff by seeking emergency legal opinion from the state’s attorney general on recommending the governor put off the election between Jeff Sessions and Tommy Tuberville.
‘The health and well-being of the people of this state are of paramount importance,’ Merrill said Sunday night.
‘In order to effectively practice social distancing, as recommended by the President of the United States, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), the Alabama Department of Public Health, etc., the March 31 Runoff Election must be postponed,’ he continued
Alabama’s Secretary of State John Merrill said Sunday that he is seeking emergency postponement of the March 31 Senate primary runoff elections in the state over fears of the coronavirus outbreak
The runoff election comes as Jeff Sessions (left) – who is trying to win back his Senate seat in Alabama – came in a close second to Tommy Tuberville (right). Neither earned the majority needed to outright win the Republican nomination
Georgia and Louisiana already moved their presidential primary elections to later this year as the virus pandemic rocks the nation
Several state’s primary elections are coming up as public health officials recommend people avoid large gatherings as threats of coronavirus spreading rock the nation after the U.S. death toll reached 69 on Monday and there are now more than 3,800 confirmed cases across the nation.
Sessions, who served in the Alabama Senate before becoming Donald Trump’s attorney general in January 2017 – and being ousted less than two years later – is in a tight race to win back his seat.
The election became even more difficult to win for Sessions after Trump voiced his opposition to his former administration official winning back his seat and endorsed his opponent.
‘Tommy Tuberville (@TTuberville) is running for the U.S. Senate from the Great State of Alabama. Tommy was a terrific head football coach at Auburn University. He is a REAL LEADER who will never let MAGA/KAG, or our Country, down!’ Trump praised in a tweet days after the close Republican primary election results.
‘Tommy will protect your Second Amendment (which is under siege), is strong on Crime and the Border, and truly LOVES our Military and our Vets,’ the president continued. ‘He will be a great Senator for the people of Alabama. Coach Tommy Tuberville, a winner, has my Complete and Total Endorsement. I love Alabama!’
Alabama is a Super Tuesday state that voted in its primaries on March 3 along with 13 other states.
Neither Sessions nor his four opponents earned the margin needed to outright win the Republican nomination.
Sessions served as Trump’s attorney general from the start of his administration until November 2018, but was ousted after several clashes with the president
Sessions is struggling to win back his Senate seat, and Trump endorsed his opponent a few days after the close race
‘Tommy Tuberville, a winner, has my Complete and Total Endorsement,’ Trump tweeted March 10 – a week after the primary elections forced a runoff
Instead Sessions won 31.6 per cent, Tommy Tuberville earned 33.4 per cent, Bradley Byrne earned 24.9 per cent, Roy Moore earned 7.2 per cent and Ruth Page Nelson earned only 1 per cent.
The close results between Sessions and Tuberville, forced a runoff between the two, which is currently scheduled to take place on the last day of March.
Alabama announced its first confirmed case of coronavirus on Friday, and that number spiked to 22 as of Sunday night.
Georgia and Louisiana have already postponed their respective state’s primary election.
Georgia will now be voting in the presidential primary election on May 19, but voters were originally supposed to head to the polls on March 24.
Louisiana moved primary election day from April 4 to June 20 due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.
Despite Georgia, Louisiana and Alabama’s decision to change election dates to prevent spreading the respiratory disease, the third mass-Tuesday election will go on Tuesday.
Despite some states deciding to postpone elections to decrease public gatherings at polling places, all four states set to vote on Tuesday will move forward in casting ballots on who they want to take on Donald Trump in November
Arizona, Illinois, Ohio, Florida and Puerto Rico will all vote in the presidential primary on Tuesday – and with 628 delegates up for grabs, the single day could be the deciding factor in who clinches the nomination.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has 890 delegates heading to the DNC Convention on his behalf in July, which is 156 more than Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who has 736 delegates.
Candidates need to reach a certain threshold of delegates to outright earn the nomination. If no candidate reaches that number, then so-called superdelegates are able to cast their vote for whichever candidate they wish.
Several states across the country, especially those with higher populations, have shut down public gatherings and institutions, like schools, bars and offices, and have decreased or limited public transportation.
Many companies are also encouraging their workers to telework whether or not they are concerned they have contracted or come into contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus.