U. S. Senator Doug Jones, a Democrat from Alabama, has another Republican willing to challenge him for the seat in 2020. Saturday former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville announced his candidacy for the Senate and is running as a Republican. Sean Spicer, former White House Press Secretary for President Trump is onboard Team Tuberville.
Doug Jones won the seat previously held by Jeff Sessions in a special election, in a close race against Republican Roy Moore when Sessions was nominated for Attorney General by President Trump. Jones beat Roy Moore by only half of a percentage point, though Moore had a whole lot of ugly sexual accusations thrown against him in the press leading up to the election. Nine women came forward to accuse Moore of sexual misconduct in the past.
Like many hopeful candidates, Tuberville tweeted out his announcement Saturday afternoon. That seems like an appropriate day given his career in coaching college football.
After more than a year of listening to Alabama’s citizens, I have heard your concerns and hopes for a better tomorrow. I am humbled to announce the next step — I will be a @GOP candidate for US Senate. I invite you to join my team. https://t.co/jlW8VdXpoq #TeamTommy #ALSen #MAGA
— Tommy Tuberville (@TTuberville) April 6, 2019
Notice the MAGA hashtag at the end of that tweet? Alabama, despite the victory of Jones, is still a very red state. Democrats hope to turn Jones’ victory into another win in 2020 but it’s unlikely Jones will win re-election. That special election was a fluke. 2020 is a presidential election year and Trump’s going to be at the head of the ticket. The last poll on Trump’s popularity in Alabama I could find was in January and his approval rating was at 58%. Only West Virginia and Wyoming had higher approval numbers for the president. So, looking like a candidate is huddling with President Trump is important.
Tuberville previously considered running for Governor of Alabama in 2018 as he retired from 20-plus years of coaching college football in 2016. His career began at Ole Miss before going on to Auburn. After Auburn, he coached at Texas Tech and then wrapped up his career at Cincinnati. At Auburn Tuberville’s team went 85-40 in ten seasons. The Auburn Tigers had a perfect 13-0 record in 2004. War Eagle. Doug Jones, by the way, is a graduate of the University of Alabama, Auburn’s rival. Roll Tide.
There is another announced candidate for the GOP challenge to Jones. Congressman Bradley Bryne declared his candidacy in February. Bryne has said Jeff Sessions is a friend from whom he’s sought advice.
— Bradley Byrne (@BradleyByrne) February 20, 2019
Both Tuberville and Byrne are 64-year-old white men and who knows? The Republican primary may be interesting, especially with Spicer in the mix. Will he garner the votes of Alabama fans?
Tuberville’s real challenge may be winning over the large portion of Alabama Crimson Tide fans in the state. In his ten seasons with Auburn, Tuberville went 7-3 against the Crimson Tide. That record includes a six-game winning streak over Alabama, which is the longest for Auburn in the history of the rivalry. Tuberville will have to overcome some not-so-fond memories that at least half the state has of him from his coaching days.
The Republican primary is less than a year away. It’s scheduled for Mar. 3 of 2020. If Tuberville scores a touchdown, he’ll challenge Senator Jones. Jones has the power of the incumbency behind him but, as I said, he only squeaked out a win against a damaged GOP candidate and Alabama is still a red state. Democrats won’t be turning the state blue in 2020.