A deeper look at the Alabama races in last Tuesday’s election
The general election held last Tuesday saw 2,306,587 Alabamians cast a ballot, the highest number in modern history. Yellowhammer News has provided a deep dive into the results.
As Yellowhammer previously reported, President Donald Trump showed his high popularity in Alabama by winning the most ever votes the state has cast for a presidential candidate.
At the presidential level, Trump received 1,427,820 votes (62.15%) compared to former Vice President Joe Biden’s 837,376 (36.45%), according to the unofficial results available on Alabama Secretary of State’s website, which were last updated on the afternoon of November 4.
Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen got 24,886 votes (1.08%) in Alabama, and 7,213 voters wrote in a candidate not listed on the ballot.
In Alabama’s closely-watched race for the U.S. Senate, former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville defeated incumbent Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) in a landslide, with the Republican capturing 60.21% of the vote to Jones’ 39.62%.
Tuberville received 1,379,222 votes to Jones’ 907,484.
Comparing the two races shows that 6,752 voters in Alabama chose to vote for president and skip the Senate race.
The numbers show that Jones, who raised more than $26 million in the last two years for his campaign as of October 14, got 70,108 more votes than his party’s nominee for president.
Tuberville only received 48,598 fewer votes than Trump in the face of Jones’ massive spending advantage.
There was no third-party candidate in the Senate race and only 3,836 write-in votes, indicating a possibility that some of the difference in the Senate and presidential races are not Trump-Jones voters but rather third party-Jones voters.
A criticism some have leveled at the Jones campaign is that it did very little to differentiate the candidate from an average national member of his party, one that is unpopular with voters in the Yellowhammer State. That criticism appears to have borne itself out.
Apart from vague references to working across the aisle and the mention of bipartisan bills in television ads, ultimately little was done by the Jones campaign to push the idea that the candidate was anything except a mainstream Democrat. The case could easily be made that Jones made that impossible for his campaign to do, with, among many other decisions, his two votes to remove President Trump from office in impeachment proceedings, his votes against the respective Supreme Court confirmations of Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, and his long-held position on abortion that is out-of-step with most voters in Alabama.
A likely contributing factor to Jones’ defeat was Tuberville’s strengths as a candidate. He was already widely known among many Alabama voters for his long and largely successful tenure as head football coach at Auburn. His ads showed him to be closely in line with the majority of Alabamians, not just in their feelings on policy, but in their attitudes about the larger state of the country.
Also contributing to the Alabama Senate race was American voters’ national trend being ever more starkly divided along partisan lines. Except for some outliers such as Maine, fewer voters selected candidates in both parties than ever before. Notably, Alabama allows citizens to vote straight-ticket for one political party, an option roughly 65% of voters took advantage of in 2018.
The high turnout of Alabama’s 2020 election can put past races in perspective.
Doug Jones received 673,896 votes in his victory over former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore in 2017.
Jones got 907,484 votes, an increase of 26% from 2017, in his losing effort last Tuesday.
First Congressional District
In Alabama’s First Congressional District, Republican nominee Jerry Carl had an impressive evening securing his victory for the seat left open by Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope), who mounted an unsuccessful U.S. Senate primary campaign.
The coastal district cast 204,037 votes for Carl, good for 64.88%, as opposed to his opponent James Averhart’s 110,186 votes, 35.04%.
Total votes cast in AL-01 currently sits at 314,501.
In both Mobile and Baldwin Counties, which dominate the population of AL-01, Carl received more votes than fellow Republicans Donald Trump and Tommy Tuberville. However, Carl’s opponent was not as competitive or well funded as the Democrats who ran at the top of the ticket.
In Carl’s first general election on the ballot districtwide, he improved on outgoing Rep. Byrne’s 63.2% to 36.8% victory in 2018, though 2018 was a notably better year for Democrats than 2020 in races across the country.
Second Congressional District
Republican nominee Barry Moore dominated his race in Alabama’s heavily conservative Second Congressional District, where current Rep. Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) chose not to seek reelection.
Moore earned the votes of 197,329 (65.30%) individuals in his district, easily besting Democrat Phyllis Harvey-Hall’s 104,592 (34.61%).
Total votes cast in AL-02 currently sits at 302,207.
Then-candidate Moore decidedly improved on Roby’s 2018 margin of 61.5%, though, again, 2018 was a better year for Democrats across the board.
Public Service Commission president
As Yellowhammer News editor in chief Sean Ross noted previously, “PSC President Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh (R-AL) came close to matching Trump’s vote share,” winning 62.09% of the vote in her race.
Total votes cast in the PSC president race currently sits at 2,239,447.
Cavanaugh received 1,390,549 votes on Tuesday, the most votes ever for any non-presidential candidate running in a contested race in Alabama. The previous mark of 1,335,104 votes was set by U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) in 2016.