With Tuberville’s Win, Alabama Senate Seat Flips Back Red

With Tuberville’s Win, Alabama Senate Seat Flips Back Red
Head Coach Tommy Tuberville of the Cincinnati Bearcats at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Nov. 5, 2016. (Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
Petr Svab

Alabama is sending former college football coach Tommy Tuberville to Washington. On Nov. 3, he won the U.S. Senate election in the Yellowhammer State, beating Democrat Doug Jones.

With 83 percent of precincts reporting, Tuberville garnered 63 percent of the vote versus Jones’ 37 percent.

Jones won the seat in 2017 by less than 2 points, replacing Republican Luther Strange, who was appointed to the vacancy left by Republican Jeff Sessions after Sessions resigned in 2017 to become the first attorney general in the Trump administration.

Jones’ opponent in the special election, former Alabama Supreme Court judge Roy Moore, was accused during the campaign of sexual assault by three women. Two claimed they were minors at the time of the assault. Moore denied the allegations.

Sessions ran again this year for his former seat, but President Donald Trump endorsed Tuberville instead.

Tuberville used to coach teams of the University of Mississippi, Auburn University, Texas Tech University, and the University of Cincinnati.

In July, he won the Republican primary, beating Sessions 61-39 in a runoff.

Pollsters had underestimated Tuberville’s performance, putting him only about 11 points ahead of Jones in late October (pdf).

The Alabama seat was the only one near-certainly expected to flip red this year.

Republicans hold a 53–47 majority in the Senate, but face a particularly tough election this year, defending 23 seats compared to Democrats’ 12.

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) has lost to former Democratic Governor of the state, John Hickenlooper.

In Arizona, former astronaut Mark Kelly unseated GOP Sen. Martha McSally.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) fended off a challenge by Democrat Jamie Harrison.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) is so far holding on to her seat against Democrat Sara Gideon, Speaker of the Maine House.