Tommy Tuberville, former Auburn, Texas Tech and Cincinnati head football coach, has officially filed to run for governor of the state of Alabama, according to Alabama GOP Chairperson Terry Lathan.
— Terry Lathan (@ChairmanLathan) April 3, 2017
Tuberville has been mulling the run for quite some time, opening up his access to reporters since around Nov. 2016, teasing the potential for a run. Tuberville moved back to Auburn to a house he still owned in the area after resigning as coach of the Cincinnati Bearcats, making him eligible to run as a resident of the state.
Tuberville has conducted robo-call campaigns and made stops in his capacity as a guest speaker to gauge Alabamian interest in making a run. Tuberville loaned his exploratory campaign $100,000 to mull a run as recently as Thursday, according to AL.com, the state’s leading online publication. (His exploratory committee can be found on the Secretary of State’s website.)
Tuberville has been exploring the possibility for some time; he said in an interview with AL.com’s Joseph Goodman he considered doing so after being let go at Auburn eight years ago, but was talked out of it by his wife.
Tuberville is one of two candidates to file paperwork for the position; Twinkle Andress Cavanagh, the president of the Alabama Public Services Commission, has also filed committee papers.
Both Cavanaugh and Tuberville have been careful to not tip their hand regarding a run, but indications are both are most likely to go through with the campaign.
State auditor Jim Ziegler has already indicated interest in running for governor, declaring his candidacy with (no joke) a 284-page fictional account of the 2018 governor’s race called “The Making of the People’s Governor 2018.”
Other candidates rumored to consider a run include secretary of state John Merrill, state senator Young Boozer, and twice-suspended state chief justice/cult hero Roy Moore, Jr. Moore is most famous for his defiance of federal law on the display of the Ten Commandments on state grounds in 2003 that resulted in his first suspension and later for allegations of ordering state judges to ignore federal guidelines on gay marriage.
Early indications are a three-way race between Moore, Tuberville and Ziegler, with the winner of the GOP primary going on to win (most likely) inevitable election.
In a state that has long substituted personality for policy in its heads of state, a Tuberville run to Goat Hill isn’t that improbable, especially given the current political climate not only across the country, but within the state, which has been racked with scandal over the last 20 years.
The comparisons between Tuberville and current President Donald J. Trump will be inevitable. Tuberville himself has invoked Trump’s improbable rise when describing his own chances and hopes to work with the president if he is elected by Alabamians.
Lathan, who will oversee the primary, perhaps said it best when she was asked if Tuberville had a chance despite having zero political experience: “Look at Nov. 8th.”
Now the question is: will he run the damn ball?