Decision 2020: Doug Jones vs. Tommy Tuberville (AL Senate)

Samantha Martin ’24

It was fun while it lasted. Alabama will likely vote out their first Democratic Senator elected in 25 years, Sen. Doug Jones, in favor of Republican Tommy Tuberville.

Doug Jones. Doug Jones for Senate, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Doug Jones’ initial victory, with 50 points to Roy Moore’s 48, was a major upset, and came as a shock to many. The Associated Press reported December 13, 2017, that Jones’ victory was the first Democratic Senate victory in the state of Alabama in a quarter century (13 December 2017, Associated Press). Jones’ victory narrowed the Senate’s Republican majority to 51-49 at the time, and was encouraging to members of the Democratic Party who planned to reclaim the House and Senate majorities in the following year’s midterm elections.

AP described Jones’ victory as “aided by scandal;” namely, four sexual assault accusations brought against his opponent, Moore, in the wake of the “Me Too” era (13 December 2017, Associated Press).  In 2017, the Washington Post reported that four women said Moore pursued them when they were teenagers and he was in his early thirties. One of the women, Leigh Corfman, claimed he touched her inappropriately, while three other women noted that he had asked them out on dates multiple times while they were underage (9 November 2017, The Washington Post). Jones presents himself as a moderate Democrat, especially regarding the two issues Alabama voters are most concerned with, abortion and gun control: while he believes abortion should be left up to healthcare providers, he does not support assault weapons bans and does not support most measures of expanded gun control beyond background checks (2020, https://ontheissues.org).

Tuberville, the Republican candidate for the Senate seat, is far less controversial than Moore was, albeit less experienced in the field of government than the former judge. Tuberville worked as a highly successful college football coach for over thirty years (2020, https://tommyforsenate.com/). He won the Alabama primary on a platform based almost entirely on “standing in lockstep” with President Donald Trump, beating the seat’s former holder Jeff Sessions, who has left the Trump administration (18 September 2020, https://www.businessinsider.com/). Tuberville has said he does “not support any form or fashion of gun control,” and has previously expressed support for bills banning abortion in all non-medical circumstances (2020, https://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/).

Tommy Tuberville. J. Glover, Atlanta, Georgia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

With the current race lacking in any sex scandals, there is very little ethical cause for Alabama voters to not vote for the Republican, and past voting records suggest they likely will go for Tuberville: in 2016, Trump won the state by 28.3 points (2016, https://www.realclearpolitics.com/), and is currently leading the state by 20 points in both the Auburn University and Mason-Dixon Polling and Research Inc. polls (2020,https://www.realclearpolitics.com/ ). Current polls regarding the race show Tuberville leading by a decent margin: a September 22 poll by Morning Consult showed Tuberville with an eighteen point lead (22 September 2020, https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/) and an October 5 poll by Auburn University showed Tuberville leading by twelve points (2020, https://www.realclearpolitics.com/). Therefore, it is fair to say that this race will likely go in favor of Tuberville, and Jones will be sent home just three years after his historic time in the Senate began.

Sources:

https://apnews.com/e2f3c87b2f6b4c05b5e8f8cab38dd48c/Jones-wins-in-stunning-Alabama-upset

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/woman-says-roy-moore-initiated-sexual-encounter-when-she-was-14-he-was-32/2017/11/09/1f495878-c293-11e7-afe9-4f60b5a6c4a0_story.html

https://www.ontheissues.org/senate/Doug_Jones.htm

https://tommyforsenate.com/about/

https://www.businessinsider.com/alabama-senate-race-doug-jones-vs-tommy-tuberville-polls-fundraising-2020-8

https://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/story/news/2020/10/12/where-doug-jones-tommy-tuberville-stand-abortion-gun-rights-alabama-senate-race/5955568002/

https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/polls/alabama/

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2020/senate/al/alabama_senate_tuberville_vs_jones-7015.html