Winners and losers — Election day fallout
After months of delay under pandemic conditions, Alabama’s primary election has finally (mercifully) come to an end. With two congressional runoffs serving as the undercard, the showcase U.S. Senate race went to former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville.
The fallout from these races left some in the winners column, while others were not so fortunate.
Let’s take a look.
President Donald Trump
The president went to the mat for Tuberville in 2020. Whatever his motivations, it worked out well for him and much better than his last foray into an Alabama U.S. Senate race. Though battling a virus, social unrest and a tenuous economy, one thing remains certain from Tuesday’s results, and that is Donald Trump’s popularity in the Yellowhammer State.
Sessions’ service to his state and country spanned more than four decades. When Alabama Republicans could meet in a booth at Waffle House, he was one of the people there. With the likes of Bill Pryor, Harold See and Edgar Welden, Sessions was an early visionary for bringing conservative governance to his home state. A storied career in public service — one that should be celebrated — came to an end on Tuesday.
Tuberville was not the only former college football coach for whom Trump went to the mat. Lou Saban received glowing words of praise from the president during an election week tele-town hall. Saban, who passed away in 2009, is a distant cousin of Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban. One piece of trivia about Lou Saban’s coaching career: he posted an 0-8-1 record in his only season as head coach at Northwestern, and yet his winning percentage was not the worst in the program’s history.
Talk about a challenging environment. Try being a poll worker during a pandemic. In July. In Alabama. Layered in PPE, poll workers across Alabama greeted the state’s citizens and dutifully aided them in exercising their constitutional right to vote. Elections cannot happen without them, and they are to be specially commended today.
The Alabama Farmers Federation went decisively for Tuberville with its early endorsement in the race. This allowed the organization to harness its grassroots horsepower to effectively assist him in an incredibly challenging campaign environment. This is the type of support that is long-remembered by elected officials.
Alabama’s lieutenant governor continues to strengthen his political base. Another early advocate for Tuberville, Ainsworth pushed aside a possible run at the office, himself, instead throwing his support behind Tuesday’s winner. One of the state’s fastest ascending power players, Ainsworth’s shrewd move should continue paying dividends down the road.
Club for Growth
Sometimes a donor pass-through, this time the D.C. interest group completely changed the course of at least one congressional race and supported Tuberville’s win statewide. Club for Growth spent millions in advertising and mail going into voters’ homes. In enough cases, it worked.
Polling throughout the year had shown Tuberville beating Jones by a wider margin than Sessions. Schumer, the aspiring Senate majority leader, had likely hoped that the chaos of having a Trump nemesis on the ticket in Alabama would have provided an opportunity to retain the seat. Jones and the national Democrats are undoubtedly not going down without a fight, but Schumer had hoped for better.
Here’s guessing this collection of self-righteous elites does not like Tuberville. Formed by a group of GOP consultants outwardly mad at Trump (and inwardly mad they did not get hired by Trump’s campaign), the group has taken up the cause of electing Joe Biden. Do not be surprised if the group, or a few of its members, get involved in the fall election on behalf of Jones.
Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia