Republican Tommy Tuberville, the former coach of Auburn University’s football team, was projected to easily defeat Alabama Democratic Sen. Doug Jones to pick up a Senate seat long targeted by the GOP, according to The Associated Press.
Tuberville has been a heavy favorite since his defeat of former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a July primary. He has relied almost totally on the endorsement of President Donald Trump and Alabama’s heavy Republican lean — Trump won the state by 30 percentage points in 2016 — to win the election, rarely campaigning and declining to debate Jones.
Jones outspent Tuberville by massive margins, raising $26 million to the former football coach’s $8 million. He used that money to run ads labeling Tuberville as “too extreme to get anything done for you,” attacking the Republican’s stance on climate change and his opposition to the Affordable Care Act.
Tuberville ran as a standard-issue Republican, closely aligning himself with the president. “I’m going to stand with President Trump to finish the border wall, cut your taxes and protect life,” he said in his final ad of the campaign.
Jones narrowly won the seat in a December 2017 special election, defeating Roy Moore, who was facing credible accusations of sexual assault. Over the next three years, he did little to endear himself to Trump supporters, voting mostly as a down-the-line Democrat.
Jones, a former U.S. Attorney who prosecuted the bombers of 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, is seen as a potential Biden administration appointee, potentially serving as Attorney General or elsewhere in the Justice Department.
Despite his limited campaign schedule, Tuberville managed to embarrass himself: In September, he clearly did not know what the Voting Rights Act was when asked by a constituent.
Tuberville also coached the football teams at Ole Miss, Texas Tech and the University of Cincinnati.