Democratic candidate Doug Jones narrowly beat Republican candidate Roy Moore in a special U.S. Senate election in Alabama Tuesday night, but a surprising sports connection may have played a role. A Democratic political group put out a video this weekend encouraging Republicans to write in University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban, and some voters said Tuesday that they decided to vote for Saban, including one who appeared on MSNBC. And there wound up being a whole lot of write-in votes, which many ascribed to Saban:
It's never a binary choice:
— Stephen Hayes (@stephenfhayes) December 13, 2017
Shout out to Nick Saban for getting 22,044 votes, I assume. https://t.co/mQ80106BZa
— Kyle R Smith (@TheBikeAttorney) December 13, 2017
— Britta Stamps (@BrittaStamps) December 13, 2017
Note that this comes after former White House chief strategist and Breitbart editor in chief Steve Bannon mocked the University of Alabama (MSNBC host Joe Scarborough’s alma mater) at a Moore rally Monday night, too:
In Midland City, Alabama, Steve Bannon goes after @JoeNBC, saying he got into better schools than Joe could have—Georgetown and Harvard. This might be the wrong place for that attack: Joe went to the University of Alabama.
— Jonathan Allen (@jonallendc) December 12, 2017
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) December 12, 2017
And that voter who spoke to MSNBC gave quite the explanation of his decision to vote for Saban:
“I’m a lifelong Republican, and this is the first time in my entire life that I haven’t voted for the Republican candidate. I wrote in Nick Saban instead. …At first, I was going to vote for the other guy, but then I had a crisis in the voting booth, and started thinking about what [Republican U.S. Senator] Richard Shelby said, and [former National Security Advisor] Condoleeza Rice, and I just wrote in Nick Saban.”
We don’t know yet how many of the over 22,000 write-in votes were for Saban, but it seems likely he received a substantial proportion of them given the ads promoting that as an option. No word on if Saban considers write-in votes for him “rat poison” or not. He’s probably too busy preparing for Clemson.