With the Nov. 3 election now just over three months away (thankfully). the most watched statewide race will be the contest for U.S. Senate between incumbent Democrat Doug Jones and Republican challenger Tommy Tuberville.
Jones won this seat in a special election in 2017 by defeating Judge Roy Moore. Tuberville beat former U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions in a July runoff. Polling at this point gives Tuberville anywhere from a five to a ten point lead.
The very respected Cook Political Report rates this race as “leaning Republican.”
As all of us Auburn fans know, Tuberville was head football coach at Auburn for ten years. No doubt his most notable achievement was beating Alabama seven out of ten times. He is personable and can “work a room” with the best. However, the only real message of his campaign is his undying loyalty to President Trump.
Other than that, I’ve not heard how he feels about most things political. And I’m unaware of what in his background qualifies him to go to Washington. There is a big difference in deciding to go for an on-side kick and going to war.
(Tuberville was head coach at Ole Miss in 1998 and when rumors made their rounds that he was going to leave he said. “The only way I leave will be in a pine box.” He headed to Auburn two days later. So perhaps he is more qualified for Washington than I first thought.)
But here is where it gets tricky. What if Tuberville is elected–but Trump isn’t?. Where does this leave Alabama? Add to this the real possibility that the Democrats may regain control of the U.S. Senate. So instead of having an incumbent in Jones who is a member of the ruling party, we have a freshman in the minority party. In a body that is based so much on seniority, that means Tuberville would have to furnish his own toilet paper.
Washington insiders are saying it is about 50-50 that Democrats take control. This is based on the fact that the GOP must defend 23 incumbent seats, as compared to only 12 for the Democrats. Seats in Colorado, Maine, Arizona, North Carolina and Montana are considered very vulnerable to Democrat challenges. Even South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham is facing a serious challenge from Jaime Harrison, who has raised more than $21 million this year.
Trump’s re-election effort is in serious trouble. Poll after poll is showing him losing to Joe Biden by decisive margins. And though Trump decries these polls as “fake” don’t think for a moment they are. I have worked with many pollsters over the years. The last thing they want to do is hide the truth. The most striking thing about the presidential polling right now is that the trend is all in the same direction. In Biden’s favor.
No doubt Trump will win Alabama. But the road to the White House does not run through Alabama.
As for Tuberville, I would put my money on him right now. But as things are now shaping up, when he gets to Washington he will look back to when he was on Auburn’s sideline and his opinion really counted.