Democrat Doug Jones got 671,151 votes in Alabama’s Tuesday night U.S. Senate special election.
Republican Roy Moore lost with 650,436 votes.
There were 22,819 write-in votes.
And since 673,255 is bigger than Jones’ winning total, that means we’re probably going to learn exactly how many people voted for Alabama head coach Nick Saban.
Here's guidance from Alabama secretary of state on counting write-ins pic.twitter.com/rLhDe6NtwW— Mike Memoli (@mikememoli) December 12, 2017
Write-in votes for coaches and athletes is nothing new ...
Saban and Auburn coaches have gotten them in the state before, a Popovich-Duncan ticket is popular in San Antonio’s county, Urban Meyer is a national brand, Bill Belichick and Brad Stevens got votes in the last presidential election, “53 people went to the polls and voted for Pittsburgh Penguins winger Phil Kessel,” and Penn State was out here urging people not to vote for James Franklin.
It’s #Election2016 Day! Exercise your right, but no #Franklin2016 write-ins please...we like him at the #PSUwhiteout, not the White House! pic.twitter.com/40rNpYjpIm— Penn State Football (@PennStateFball) November 8, 2016
And this happened before Jim Harbaugh was even Michigan’s coach:
I voted Jim Harbaugh for governor. If he's the governor he'll have no choice but to come to Michigan. pic.twitter.com/hbEQvOiV7K— Nehme Jaafar (@nehme09) November 4, 2014
... but this was a different election.
I mean, a Democrat won in modern Alabama. Even considering Moore’s multitude of scandals, that alone means we’re in new territory.
Days before, a Democrat group encouraged Alabamians to write in Saban’s name.
MSNBC interviewed one self-described lifelong Republican who decided to write in Saban’s name in order to avoid supporting either Moore or Jones:
Alabama man suffers crisis of confidence in voting booth, places write in vote for Nick Saban (h/t @ChrisVannini) pic.twitter.com/yER94x6Lr5— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) December 12, 2017
It’s safe to bet Saban just topped his own personal best for write-in votes.
Could Saban actually win one of these things one day?
He’s got a head start with all these write-in votes! That’s how it works, right? No? That’s not how it works.
Saban’s walked a fine line when it comes to politics, once claiming he didn’t realize the 2016 election was happening until it was over. But he’s donated to conservative Democratic senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia (Saban’s home state) and openly expressed admiration for Hillary Clinton ... sort of.
Elections don’t seem like his style, and I’d assume he’ll leave all that to Tommy Tuberville. But I dare you to ask him about all this while he’s busy preparing to play Clemson in the Sugar Bowl.