Doug Jones defeats Roy Moore in tight Alabama Senate race

Democratic Senatorial candidate Doug Jones celebrates his victory over Republican candidate Judge Roy Moore with his granddaughter at his election night rally after winning the Senate seat on Tuesday in Birmingham, Alabama. Photo by Mark Wallheiser/UPI

Dec. 12 (UPI) — Democrat Doug Jones narrowly won the tightly contested Alabama Senate race to fill the coveted seat left vacant by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday night.

Jones became the first Democrat elected to the Senate in Alabama since 1992, after defeating Republican Roy Moore, who faced allegations of sexual harassment, by about 1 percent of the vote.

“Thank you ALABAMA!!” Jones wrote on Twitter following the win.

In his victory speech Jones said Alabama has “shown the country the way, that we can be unified.”

“I have always believed that the people of Alabama have more in common than divides us,” he said.

Jones’ victory narrows the Republican Senate majority to 51-49.

Moore refused to concede the race, with Jones leading by about 20,000 votes with 99 percent of votes counted, according to NBC News.

“When the vote is this close, it’s not over,” Moore said at his election night rally. “Part of the problem with this campaign is that we’ve been painted in an unfavorable and unfaithful light. We’ve been put in a hole.”

“Let this process play out,” he added.

President Donald Trump, who supported Moore throughout the campaign, offered Jones congratulations on the win.

“Congratulations to Doug Jones on a hard fought victory,” he wrote on Twitter. “The write-in votes played a very big factor, but a win is a win. The people of Alabama are great, and the Republicans will have another shot at this seat in a very short period of time. It never ends!”

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer praised Jones while welcoming him to the Senate.

“Doug Jones will be an outstanding Senator who will represent Alabama well. He was a great candidate and will be an even better Senator,” he said.

Polls indicated a close race between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones, with a Fox News poll projected a 10-point lead for Jones, but multiple other polls showed Moore with a lead ranging anywhere between 4 and 9 points on Monday and the two were tied with about 80 percent of the votes tallied Tuesday night.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said the state was on track for a 25 percent turnout of registered voters in the election — about 1 million people.

Among those who turned out were Jones and Moore, who showed up to vote while riding his horse Sassy.

Alabama hadn’t elected a Democrat to the Senate in more than two decades, but sexual misconduct allegations against Moore opened an opportunity for Jones.

President Donald Trump maintained his vocal support of Moore and recorded an automated call encouraging Republican voters to back him Tuesday, in hopes of keeping the Senate seat.

“Roy Moore is the guy we need to pass our ‘Make America Great Again’ agenda,” Trump said. “Roy is a conservative who will help me steer this country back on track after eight years of the Obama disaster. Get out and vote for Roy Moore.”

Trump gave his support again Tuesday morning on Twitter.

“The people of Alabama will do the right thing. Doug Jones is Pro-Abortion, weak on Crime, Military and Illegal Immigration, Bad for Gun Owners and Veterans and against the WALL. Jones is a Pelosi-Schumer Puppet. Roy Moore will always vote with us. VOTE ROY MOORE!” he wrote.

Former President Barack Obama recorded his own automated calls for Jones, urging Alabama voters to get out and vote — a message perhaps born from last year’s presidential election, which saw some Democratic voters in key swing states stay home.

Jones also received out-of-state help from fellow Democrats, including Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker as they joined him on the home-stretch of his campaign.

The race was plagued by allegations against Moore by eight women who accused him of sexual misconduct when he was in his 30s, and in some cases when they were in their teens. Forty-three percent of Alabama residents said in a survey they believe the accusations of misconduct against Moore.

Moore has denied the accusations.

Wisconsin Rep. Gwen Moore called for Frank J. Larkin, the Senate sergeant at arms, to inform her what special measures would be taken to protect teenage Senate aides if Moore is elected.

“I would like to know what preventative steps are being undertaken to safeguard Senate pages from predatory conduct of U.S. senators and Senate staff,” she wrote. “The U.S. Congress has an obligation to keep these students safe especially in light of known potential harm.”

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has said that Moore should be expelled from the U.S. Senate if elected, in response to his alleged sexual misconduct.


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