Tommy Tuberville, Republican U.S. Senate nominee and former Auburn University football coach, middle, appears on the stage with his family members during an election night event in Montgomery, Alabama, U.S., on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. Tuberville defeated Jeff Sessions in his bid to return to the U.S. Senate, a contest that had turned into a grudge match between President Donald Trump and his former attorney general. Photographer: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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Former college football coach Tommy Tuberville, a Republican, is projected to defeat incumbent Democratic Sen. Doug Jones in a special election for a Senate seat from Alabama, according to NBC News.
Jones’ seat long had been considered at risk of being flipped by the GOP because the Democrat just barely beat scandal-damaged Republican Roy Moore in the 2017 special election.
Tuberville was leading with 60 percent to Jones’ 40 percent with 43 percent of the vote tallied.
Out of 12 Senate seats held by incumbent Democrats that were at stake in Tuesday’s election, only Jones’ was expected to be lost to a Republican.
Alabama is a heavily red state. Jones, a former federal prosecutor, faced a daunting challenge in trying to turn out enough Black voters, and to peel off enough Republicans to best Tuberville.
Tuberville, who was extremely well known in Alabama after having coached Auburn University’s football team for years, ran a low-key campaign and refused to debate Jones.
Tuberville during the campaign closely aligned himself with Trump, who is very popular in Alabama.
Before Jones was elected in 2017, the last Democrat elected to an Alabama U.S. Senate seat was Howell Heflin, who retired in 1997 after three terms in office. Richard Shelby, the state’s current senior senator, was elected as a Democrat in 1986 but switched to the GOP in 1994.
The Republican Jeff Sessions previously held Jones’ seat, but resigned it to become Trump’s first attorney general.
After getting fired by Trump in late 2018, Sessions tried to regain his Senate seat, but was bested in a run-off primary this summer by Tuberville, who had the support of Trump.
Jone massively outraised and outspent Tuberville during the campaign, by margins of more than 3-to-1.
According to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, as of a week before Election Day, Jones’ campaign had raised $26.4 million, compared to just $7.4 million. And Jones’ campaign had spent $24.5 million versus the $5.9 million spent by Tuberville.