While there are no doubt many good reasons to live in Alabama, its ruby-red politics are not part of that list. Football coach Tommy Tuberville is now one of Alabama’s senators, and who the eff ever asked for that? Not ‘Bama progressives, that’s for sure, nor the 920,478 people who voted for incumbent Democrat Doug Jones. For them, it must’ve felt like suddenly being told their new boss was a potato.
Private citizens remain free to move to Alabama, stay in Alabama, or leave Alabama, but one of the few people who actually must live there apparently doesn’t. That would be Tuberville himself.
The good senator, who’s been singlehandedly undermining our military’s readiness on behalf of longtime GOP spokesmascot Zippy the Zygote, has apparently been living in Florida this whole time, according to a new Washington Post fact-check.
As the Post recounts, Tuberville made a trip to the Wiregrass region of Alabama in June, telling locals that the area is “one of the best-kept secrets in Alabama” and adding that “everyone is seeing the growth in Florida, but that will only last so long because you can only take so many people in the Florida area.”
In other words, “stay in Alabama, folks! It’s a great place to live—unless you happen to have a $3 million beach house in Florida, that is!”
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The Washington Post:
Three weeks after his Wiregrass appearance, Tuberville sold, for nearly $1.1 million, the last properties that he owned in Alabama, according to real estate records. The properties, known as Tiger Farms LLC, are in Macon and Tallapoosa counties, on the outskirts of Auburn. That same month, he also sold one Florida condo for $850,000 and bought another for $825,000.
Tuberville’s office says his primary residence is an Auburn house that records show is owned by his wife and son. But campaign finance reports and his signature on property documents indicate that his home is actually a $3 million, 4,000-square-foot beach house he has lived in for nearly two decades in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., located in the Florida Panhandle about 90 miles south of Dothan.
Records show that Tuberville voted in Florida during the 2018 midterm elections. In March 2019, he registered to vote in Alabama, just prior to announcing his Senate run. On his registration form, he indicated that he lived in Auburn, Alabama, but if the Post’s report is to be believed, he appears to have been relying on fuzzy maps.
Local media accounts in 2020 said that Tuberville owns this home with his wife. But property records show it is owned by Tuberville’s son, who has the same first name but a different middle name, along with the senator’s wife. The home was purchased in 2017, when the son, generally known as Tucker, was in the process of obtaining an Alabama real estate license. The son now works in New York, according to his LinkedIn page. Neither Tucker nor Suzanne Tuberville responded to requests for comment.
Granted, if there’s anyone who legitimately wouldn’t know which state he lives in, it would be Tuberville. His brain wave readings are about what you’d get if you hooked an EEG machine to a balloon you just rubbed on your sweater. But that doesn't mean he’s acting in good faith.
The residency rules for U.S. senators under the Constitution aren’t particularly demanding. They merely require that one be “an inhabitant” of the state one represents when elected. Generally, voters are turned off by political carpetbaggers, and so Tuberville has previously been dogged by residency questions.
Years before his Senate bid, Tuberville eschewed a run for governor in 2020, because he anticipated controversy might erupt over his extended Florida stay. Alabama gubernatorial candidates are required to have lived in the state for seven years, while Senate candidates are required to to have been residents for just a day. But as the Post notes, “voters increasingly are sensitive to the perception that a lawmaker is not connected to a state.”
Ahead of their runoff, Tuberville’s 2020 primary opponent, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, tried to capitalize on folks’ aversion to non-Alabamans running for statewide office in Alabama.
It didn’t work. Tuberville won the GOP nomination.
Incumbent Jones touched on Tuberville’s recent move to the Yellowhammer State as well. It didn’t work. Tuberville won the seat.
According to FEC expenditure reports filed by Tuberville’s campaign and related PACs, the senator has made frequent visits to his Santa Rosa Beach home. But his staff claims that's all much ado about nothing.
“Coach has purchased and invested in real estate for decades,” stated Tuberville’s communications director, Steven Stafford, in an email to the Post. “Coach has owned the property in Santa Rosa Beach for two decades—he bought it while he was coaching at Auburn. He goes there upon occasion if he has a free weekend. It is within driving distance of Auburn. I’m sure many Senators have vacation homes.”
Stafford also claimed Tuberville “purchased his current Auburn residence for his son when his son was a student at Auburn. After his son graduated, he moved out. After Coach retired from coaching, Coach moved into the Auburn house. The Auburn property is his primary residence — although his job requires him to be in Washington four days a week when the Senate is in session.”
Why doesn’t this senator’s staff call him a senator … ever?
But as the Post points out, that statement doesn't mesh with official records, which indicate that the Auburn home was actually purchased by Tuberville’s wife and son Tucker after Tucker had graduated from college. Oops!
In a 2017 ESPN promo (used in the Sessions ad above), Tuberville claimed he’d retired to Florida.
“Six months ago, after 40 years of coaching football, I hung up my whistle and moved to Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, with the white sands and blue waters,” he said in the video. “What a great place to live.”
Yes, it is, isn’t it? Especially for someone ready to get the fuck out of Alabama.
Of course, this isn’t the first time a GOP politician’s residency has been questioned. Last year, we discovered that former White House chief of staff and perpetual Big Liar Mark Meadows was simultaneously registered to vote in more than one state and claimed his official residence was a 14-foot-by-62-foot mobile home in North Carolina that he almost certainly never lived in. And Herschel Walker, who ran for the U.S. Senate in Georgia last year on a platform of forced-birth-for-everyone-but-his-girlfriends, claimed his primary residence was in Texas.
Walker lost, of course; granted he had a lot more to worry about than his official residence. So it’s unclear how much, or even if, this little scandal will affect Tuberville’s future viability in politics. He is a Republican, after all.
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As I noted Thursday, “the current GOP presidential frontrunner is a thrice-indicted alleged insurrectionist, government documents thief, and—according to at least one federal judge—a rapist.” So the bar is obviously low in one political party. But is it really too much to ask that “coaches” representing entire U.S. states in the U.S. Senate actually live in those states?
Tell Tommy Tuberville: Stop endangering national security
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