MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Former Texas Tech football coach Tommy Tuberville backed out of a debate with Jeff Sessions after originally agreeing to do it, according to wkrg.com.
“WKRG and four other Nexstar Broadcasting sister stations in Alabama had arranged for the debate prior to the Primary Election last week,” wkrg.com said. “Tuberville, Jeff Sessions, and Bradley Byrne all agreed to take part, if they advanced to a run-off.”
Full disclosure: Nexstar owns KLBK and provides services to KAMC through an outsource agreement.
Sessions on Monday evening said, “We don’t know anything about where [Tuberville] comes from. So, this is an important opportunity for us to find out where he stands on the issues.”
Tuberville won the Alabama Republican primary for U.S. Senate on March 3 with 33.4 percent of the vote. Sessions had 31.7 percent. A poll conducted last week shows Tuberville leading Sessions by about 7-percentage points in the run off.
Typically, front-runners have less to gain from a debate.
Tuberville’s campaign manager, Paul Shashy, released a statement.
Shashy said, “Jeff Sessions has refused to debate every opponent he has faced since 2002, but now that he is running behind… he has had a sudden change of heart. It is too late…”
Alabama’s run-off election is scheduled for March 31. The Republican winner then takes on Democratic incumbent Doug Jones in the November general election.
Tuberville’s record as coach at Texas Tech as 20 – 17. To say he left abruptly in December 2012 for a coaching job at Cincinnati might be an understatement.