Democrat Doug Jones has won the special U.S. Senate election in Alabama, defeating Republican Roy Moore in what has long been a reliably red state after the candidate was besieged by allegations of sexual misconduct.
With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Doug led with 49.5 percent of the vote against Moore’s 48.8 percent. His win was fueled in part by a lower than usual turnout among Republicans and a higher turnout among Democrats, particularly among African American voters.
It is the first time since 1992 that Alabama has chosen a Democrat to represent them in the U.S. Senate. The race was thrown into the national spotlight last month when several women accused Moore of sexual misconduct. Moore has denied the allegations.
“Folks, I got to tell ya, I think that I have been waiting all my life and now I just don’t know what the hell to say,” Jones told his supporters, adding that he was “overwhelmed” by his victory. Moore had been widely expected to win until the allegations threw the race into uncertainty.
Moore’s loss is an upset for President Donald Trump, who endorsed Moore despite the claims of sexual misconduct, telling his supporters that the Republican Party could not afford to lose a vote in the Senate, where the Republican Party’s majority will fall to 51 versus 49 for Democrats.
Supporters at Jones’ campaign headquarters in Birmingham erupted in loud cheers as news organizations predicted a win for their candidate. There was no immediate response from Moore, the National Republican Party, or Trump.
Cory Gardner, the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said in a statement that he hoped Doug would vote with Republicans.
“Tonight’s results are clear – the people of Alabama deemed Roy Moore unfit to serve in the U.S. Senate,” Gardner said. “I hope Senator-elect Doug Jones will do the right thing and truly represent Alabama by choosing to vote with the Senate Republican Majority.”
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a Democrat who lost last year’s presidential election to Trump, said Doug would make Alabama voters proud. “And if Democrats can win in Alabama, we can — and must — compete everywhere. Onward!”, she said on Twitter.
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