Former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville is running for Senate in Alabama as a Republican, he announced Saturday.
“After more than a year of listening to Alabama’s citizens, I have heard your concerns and hopes for a better tomorrow,” Tuberville wrote in a tweet and a statement on a campaign website. “I am humbled to announce the next step — I will be a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate.”
Tuberville is joining the race to run against Democratic Sen. Doug Jones, who won a special election in 2017 and is running for a full term next year. Republican Rep. Bradley Byrne is already in the race, and several other Republicans are considering jumping into the primary to challenge Jones, who is viewed as the most vulnerable Democrat on the ballot next year.
Sean Spicer, President Donald Trump’s former White House communications director, is expected to assist Tuberville with the campaign, according to sources familiar with the budding operation, though a formal role hasn’t been determined yet. Spicer tweeted that Tuberville’s entance would make the race a GOP “pickup.”
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Tuberville, 64, coached football for 21 seasons, including 10 for Auburn. He also coached at Texas Tech University and the University of Cincinnati, where he finished his career in 2016 with a 4-8 record.
His 85-40 record at Auburn includes a 13-0 season in 2004, though the Tigers were passed over by the Bowl Championship Series and were not invited to play in the national championship game. Tuberville resigned from Auburn following the 2008 season, in which the Tigers recorded only their second losing season in his decade-long tenure.
The announcement came just hours before Auburn’s men’s basketball team was set to play in the Final Four in Minneapolis.