Alabama's legendary football coach Nick Saban works in a state that votes deep, crimson-red, but it seems like he's throwing his support clearly behind blue this time. November 6 is fast approaching, and with midterms coming up, lines are being drawn in the sand. Saban's now made it clear which side he stands on, at least in his home state of West Virginia.
In West Virginia, sitting Democratic Senator Joe Manchin has the edge over Republican candidate Patrick Morrisey. FiveThirtyEight predicts that Manchin has an astounding 87.6 percent chance of winning, and it seems like he's trying to put the nail in the coffin with the use of sports celebrity.
In an ad uploaded to YouTube yesterday, Manchin enlisted the help of his longtime friend Saban, along with West Virginia basketball legend Jerry West, and current WVU coach Bob Huggins to support him. The video's titled, simply, "Coaches."
“Joe and I grew up together in West Virginia, and he never forgets where he came from,” Saban says in the ad. “I don’t have a better friend or know a better person than Joe Manchin.”
There's not a lot to go on for Huggins and West, but even though the methodical and saltine-cracker-dry Saban is known for stiff-arming political questions when they arise, he has scattered a few clues about his political leanings. Like the time he said that if he was going to cheat on his wife, it'd be with Hillary Clinton. And the time he defended NFL players' rights to protest.
But ultimately, Saban's donations speak for themselves. He's donated both Republican and Democrat—putting $250 behind Bernadine Healy (R), a candidate to represent Ohio in the Senate in 1994, and $2,400 behind Manchin in 2010. Obviously, Manchin is getting the bigger cut (likely when Saban had a bigger paycheck), but Saban could just ultimately be endorsing his long time friend.
As for Alabama politics, Saban himself was a decently popular write-in during the state's December 2017 controversy-riddled election. We'll see how his endorsement of Manchin impacts his performance in the next one, but the fact that Manchin has agreed with the president quite a lot for a Democrat might work out for Nick.
[h/t SB Nation]