Former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville to face Jeff Sessions in run-off for Alabama GOP Senate nomination

Jack Baer
Tommy Tuberville has repeatedly tried to link his campaign to President Donald Trump. (Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Former Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville’s bid for the U.S. Senate seat from Alabama is entering a run-off.

The ex-coach finished in the top two of Tuesday’s GOP primary for the nomination to the Senate, setting up a run-off on March 31. He will face Jeff Sessions, the former U.S. Attorney General who is campaigning for his old Senate seat.

Tuberville to face Sessions for Alabama Senate nomination

Neither Tuberville nor Sessions reached the majority needed to secure the nomination on Tuesday.

The winner of March’s primary will face Democratic incumbent Doug Jones in November. Jones holds the seat after prevailing over former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice Roy Moore in a 2017 special election clouded by sexual misconduct accusations against Moore involving minors. Moore finished fourth behind Sessions and Tuberville.

Tuberville — an Arkansas native who held an 85-40 record in 10 seasons at Auburn and most recently coached at Cincinnati — has repeatedly linked his campaign to supporting President Donald Trump, and that continued on Tuesday.

Tuberville has previously considered a run for governor of Alabama in 2017, but decided against it. He announced his campaign for Senate last April.

Tuberville’s campaign has not been without controversial moments in a highly combative race. That included the time he claimed there were once more illegal immigrants from the Middle East than Mexico entering the U.S., much to the shock of some of his former players:

“They told me we got more Middle Easterners coming across the border than we do Mexicans,” Tuberville told a gathering of Alabama Republicans in June. “This was before the caravans started coming. I said, ‘What are you talking about?’ He said they’re coming all over the Middle East. They’re coming across the border, and they ain’t leaving. They’re coming for a reason. Folks, they’re taking over, and if we don’t open our eyes, it is going to be over with.”

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