Tommy Tuberville

The 2020 race for the U.S. Senate became more intriguing this past weekend when former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville announced he is running for the Republican nomination.

Tuberville has flirted with politics before. He considered a race for governor last year before bowing out in favor of incumbent Gov. Kay Ivey, who was elected to a full term. So this announcement was not a shocker.

What was surprising was his revelation that Sean Spicer, the former communications director to President Trump, would be on his campaign staff.

Trump will be seeking re-election next year and every GOP candidate in Alabama will try to “out Trump” other Republicans in the race. So from a strategic standpoint, it makes sense to hire someone associated with Trump. But Spicer may not be the one to endear Trump to a campaign.

Anyway, I just don’t associate Tuberville with Spicer. About the only thing I know that they have in common is that they both can be controversial.

While Tuberville has lived various places since he left Auburn, there apparently is not a residency requirement to run for the U.S. Senate. Other announced candidates for the GOP nomination so far include only U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne of Mobile, although several others are apparently considering a run.

Tuberville will be seeking the Republican nomination to face U.S. Sen. Doug Jones of Jefferson County. National Republicans consider Jones vulnerable because Alabama is such a deeply red state.

Jones was aided in his 2017 race by allegations of sexual misconduct with minors by former Chief Justice Roy Moore.

Jones is seeking re-election and he has an impressive service record. Before he was elected to the U.S. Senate, he served as U.S. attorney, prosecuting, years later, the persons responsible for bombing Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963 and killing four little African-American girls.

But Jones probably is not going to have the luxury next year of running against someone accused of being a pedophile. 

And Trump’s topping the ballot will amount to another problem for any Democrat running statewide. Although unpopular in many states, Trump maintains highly favorable performance ratings here in Alabama

What credentials Tuberville has to be a U.S. senator, I do not know, but then Trump did not have any government experience when he was elected president in 2016.

Tuberville told a radio interviewer this week that he will run a “law and order” and Christian values campaign, saying that Alabama needs a representative who will protect the constitution.

The former coach may not have any experience, but he is getting some good advice for campaigning in this conservative state.

Retired Auburn attorney Don Eddins is publisher of The Auburn Villager newspaper and the online publication, auburnvillager.com. Email him your comments about the newspaper to doneddins@auburnlaw.us.

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