In Alabama, Can Doug Jones Fend Off Tommy Tuberville and Trump?

They picked out his loss to Vanderbilt, a perennial underdog, in 2008 while he was the coach at Auburn University, a game that was nationally televised and an embarrassment for the football powerhouse, as well as his 36-0 loss to Alabama that year during the two universities’ annual matchup, known as the Iron Bowl. They also criticized Mr. Tuberville’s treatment, while he was at Auburn, of a player who had been charged with rape.

The morning outburst quickly sent the Alabama Democrats’ Twitter account trending nationally; the group tried to capitalize on the popularity of its tweets by including links to its ActBlue fund-raising page.

Many Democrats and progressive activists celebrated Mr. Jones’s successful 2017 campaign as a teachable moment for the party, offering a template for a way out of the political wilderness in a state that a year earlier had voted for Mr. Trump by nearly 30 percentage points. These Democrats said that if only more candidates took Mr. Jones’s approach, which leaned heavily on turnout among African-American voters, they would surprise themselves with more victories in the Deep South.

But Mr. Jones probably would not have become the first Democrat elected to the Senate from Alabama in a generation were it not for a unique turn of events, above all the fact that many Republicans found his opponent, Mr. Moore, so distasteful that they voted for write-in candidates instead.

And Ms. Lathan, the Alabama Republican chair, was quick to note that an overwhelming number of the state’s Republicans simply hadn’t voted in the election at all.

“If our voters show back up” in November, she said, “we’re unstoppable.” (Mr. Jones, in the interview, noted that in fact Republicans did not show up on Tuesday, when statewide turnout did not even reach 20 percent of registered voters.)

Mr. Jones’s considerable financial advantage in this year’s race is one of the brightest spots for his campaign, and it has allowed him to get in front of the public early with positive ads, which the Republicans have left unanswered and that stand in sharp contrast to the overwhelmingly negative ad war that played out on the Republican side in recent weeks. By one count, the Sessions-Tuberville race had the lowest share of positive ads of any Senate primary in the country.