GOP’s Tuberville defeats US Sen. Jones, flips Alabama seat

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Republican Tommy Tuberville celebrates as he walks to the stage to speak to supporters after his win in the race for U.S. Senate, at his watch party Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Montgomery, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Former college football coach Tommy Tuberville on Tuesday recaptured a U.S. Senate seat for Republicans by defeating Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama, who had widely been considered the Senate’s most endangered Democrat.

Republicans had made taking back the once reliably conservative seat a priority in 2020. Tuberville, who has never held public office and last coached four years ago, aligned himself closely with President Donald Trump and declared in the campaign: “God sent us Donald Trump.”

"Alabama, welcome back to the Republican U.S. Senate," Tuberville shouted after taking the stage to loud cheers at his election night party in downtown Montgomery. Tuberville captured 62% of the vote with 89% of ballots counted.

“I want to thank Doug Jones for his hard work and effort, but it’s time to go home, Tuberville said as the crowd cheered. "Sometimes you end up on the wrong side of the scoreboard.”

State Republicans and Tuberville had hammered at Jones over a handful of votes, including his decision to convict Trump during the impeachment trial. Tuberville promised the crowd that he would “be guided by shared values, conservative values and I will always vote with the majority of people in the state of Alabama.”

Tuberville took a congratulatory call from Vice President Mike Pence on stage after his victory was declared. “Let me say to everyone across the state of Alabama thank you for delivering a great victory for President Donald Trump and thank you for delivering a great new senator to Washington D.C," Pence said on speaker phone to the crowd.

Tuberville, referencing Jones' better funded campaign, said out-of-state donors “learned the hard way that Alabama’s Senate seat can not be bought.”

“If you allow me to quote one of my opponent's many campaign ads, they can all go to hell and get a job,” he said. Jones ran an ad showing Tuberville using the phrase to respond to student hecklers after leaving a coaching job.