Who is Tommy Tuberville? 5 things to know about Alabama’s Senate candidate

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For Republicans to maintain a majority in the U.S. Senate, one of the most crucial races will be in Alabama, where incumbent Democratic outlier Doug Jones is looking to fend off Republican challenger Tommy Tuberville.

Here are five things to know about Tuberville, the Republican newcomer.

He is a retired college football coach

Tuberville is a former college football coach, most notably for Auburn University between 1999 and 2008. He has used this experience to bolster his campaign, having run an ad with a former player talking about how he cared about players as people, not just athletes. Under Tuberville, the Auburn Tigers beat the Alabama Crimson Tide seven out of 10 times in the Iron Bowl rivalry.

Former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville speaks to supporters in Montgomery, Ala., after he defeated former Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a runoff election. (Associated Press)

Former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville speaks to supporters in Montgomery, Ala., after he defeated former Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a runoff election. (Associated Press)

He blocked former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ bid for a Senate comeback

Tuberville, 65, beat former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in his bid to win back his old Senate seat. According to unofficial returns, Tuberville won about 60% of the vote.

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He has the backing of President Trump

President Trump endorsed Tuberville after Alabama’s March primary. Trump declared at the time that Sessions had “let our Country down” by recusing himself in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign and that Tuberville would be his “true supporter.”

He has a solid lead over his Democratic rival

Multiple polls show Tuberville as having a clear lead over Sen. Doug Jones. A Swayable poll conducted between Oct. 27 and Nov. 1 showed Tuberville at 58% to Jones’ 42%. A Morning Consult poll conducted between Oct. 22 and Oct. 31 showed Tuberville at 51% to Jones’ 39%.

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He has largely avoided campaigning

Despite Jones holding a 4-to-1 spending advantage during the race, Tuberville has adopted a campaign strategy akin to running out the clock. He has announced fewer public campaign events, concentrated media appearances on conservative talk radio and has refused to debate Jones.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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