Former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville has received what has likely topped his wish list since announcing his campaign for Alabama’s U.S. Senate seat: President Donald Trump’s endorsement.
The president tweeted a glowing endorsement for the longtime college football coach on Tuesday night, praising his coaching career and calling him a “REAL LEADER.”
Tommy Tuberville (@TTuberville) is running for the U.S. Senate from the Great State of Alabama. Tommy was a terrific head football coach at Auburn University. He is a REAL LEADER who will never let MAGA/KAG, or our Country, down! Tommy will protect your Second Amendment....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 11, 2020
....(which is under siege), is strong on Crime and the Border, and truly LOVES our Military and our Vets. He will be a great Senator for the people of Alabama. Coach Tommy Tuberville, a winner, has my Complete and Total Endorsement. I love Alabama!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 11, 2020
Tuberville is currently scheduled to face former U.S. secretary of state Jeff Sessions — who is running for the Senate seat he previously held for 20 years — in a run-off on March 31 after both failed to get a majority of the vote in last week’s Republican primary.
The winner of the run-off will face incumbent Democrat Doug Jones in November.
President Trump endorses a vocal supporter
Any questions about what kind of campaign Tuberville would run were answered when the 65-year-old said, “I do believe today that God sent Donald Trump to us” last year.
Tuberville is most well-known in the state thanks to a 10-year tenure as Auburn head coach, highlighted by an undefeated 13-0 season in 2004. He has never held elected office, though he did toy with a run for governor in 2017. His most recent position in college football as head coach for the University of Cincinnati, from which he resigned in 2016.
Tuberville has repeatedly praised Trump and followed a campaign playbook similar to the president’s of bombastic statements that often fail to hold up to fact-checking. However, Tuberville isn’t exactly alone in tying his campaign to Trump, as Sessions has also tried to do.
Trump’s endorsement against a former cabinet member figures to be a major tide change for which side his supports take. The president won 62 percent of the vote against Hillary Clinton in Alabama in 2016, and also won the state by 22 points in the GOP primary that year.
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