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Tommy Tuberville decides against gubernatorial run

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

AUBURN — Former Auburn Football coach Tommy Tuberville has decided against stepping into the political arena, forgoing his possible run for governor next year, a top aide confirmed.

Tripp Skipper, who was assisting with Tuberville’s exploratory campaign, confirmed that Tuberville decided he won’t seek the Republican Party’s nomination for the State’s highest office.

“After a lot of thought and prayer, he just felt like the timing wasn’t right,” Skipper said. “He decided to forgo the race to pursue other opportunities.”

Tuberville recently finished up a three-year stint as the head football coach at the University of Cincinnati. In February, after the release of a CBS Sports report, Tuberville said he was considering a run for Governor.

Over the last month, Tuberville had traveling the State on a listening tour to hear Alabamians’ concerns and gauge whether a run for the State’s highest office would be right for him.

“If I’m the guy that can make lives better for the people of Alabama, then I’m going to run and I’m going to win,” Tuberville said in an interview with The Auburn Plainsman.

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Tuberville decided this week that he wasn’t the right guy.

“Basically too many negatives for this thing to add up to being a positive,” Tuberville told The Montgomery Advertiser. “I think I could’ve gone through legal channels to get the residency issue solved but my family wasn’t wild about the idea either.”

Tuberville just recently moved back to his Lake Martin home and could have faced legal battles over his residency. Alabama law requires candidates for statewide political office to have established residency.

In March, Tuberville filed paperwork establishing his principal campaign committee. Later that week, he loaned himself $100,000 for his gubernatorial campaign, according to campaign finance records.

Such a loan is not uncommon for major candidates, and Tuberville warned that the campaign filing nor the loan should have been taken as a final decision.

“I basically loaned myself some money so that we could get a few people to look at it in the right way, to travel, to listen, to learn,” Tuberville said. “That’s all that was.”

Though Tuberville hasn’t confirmed it, he might have decided against a run because Gov. Kay Ivey would be an incumbent and the likely Republican nominee if she chooses to run for governor in 2018.

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Ivey ascended to the state’s top office earlier this month after former Gov. Robert Bentley, who was term limited when Tuberville announced his possible candidacy, resigned due to a spiraling sex scandal involving a top political aide, Rebekah Mason.

Ivey, 72, has said she has not decided yet whether she will run for re-election next year. She would be about the same age Bentley, who is now 74, was when he ran for re-election in 2014.

“Right now, my focus has to be on the immediate priorities,” she said.

So far, Alabama Public Service Commission President Twinkle Cavanaugh and Corrections Office Stacey George, who challenged Bentley in 2014, have been the only other candidates to publicly announce they are seeking the office.

Email Chip Brownlee at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

Chip Brownlee is a former political reporter, online content manager and webmaster at the Alabama Political Reporter. He is now a reporter at The Trace, a non-profit newsroom covering guns in America.

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