Democrat Jones defeats Roy Moore in tight Alabama Senate race

By Daniel Uria  |  Dec. 12, 2017 at 11:48 PM
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Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Doug Jones on Tuesday narrowly won Alabama's tightly contested race over controversial Republican Roy Moore -- becoming the state's first Democrat elected to the Senate in a quarter-century.

Jones topped Moore 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 -- meaning the upper chamber could switch majorities after next year's midterm elections. No Democrat from Alabama had been elected to the U.S. Senate since 1992.

Moore refused to concede the race, with Jones leading by about 20,000 votes with virtually all the 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 previously indicated a close race between Moore and Jones, and the official count followed suit.

In the run up to the vote, Trump maintained his vocal support of Moore and recorded an automated call encouraging Republican voters to back him fr the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

"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."

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 when many Democratic voters in key swing states stayed 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.

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