Democrat Doug Jones is addressed his supporters Tuesday night after a stunning victory over Republican Roy Moore. You can watch his speech above. You can read Heavy’s analysis of the Jones victory here.
“I think that I have been waiting and now I just don’t know what the hell to say,” the Senator-Elect told the cheering crowd in Birmingham at his headquarters. “I’m overwhelmed.”
Meanwhile, Moore spoke to his supporters and refused to concede the election. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Jones holds a 50 percent to 48.3 percent lead, according to Decision Desk HQ.
“Realize that when the vote is this close, it is not over,” Moore said. “We still have got to go by the rules about this recount provision. The secretary of state has explained it to us and we’re expecting that the press will go up there and talk to them to find out what the situation is.
He said, “It’s not over and it’s going to take some time.”
A Moore spokesperson said there could be a recount and that military ballots have not been counted yet. A recount would be automatically triggered if the Moore loses by 0.5 percent or less of the total vote. He could also request a recount within 48 hours of the certification of the election results at his own cost. The vote will be certified “later this month.”
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill told CNN “The people of Alabama have spoken tonight. They’ve made their voice heard loud and clear. I think the most important thing to remember now is that the process needs to be followed to ensure that the integrity, safety and security of the election is ensured.”
Merrill told CNN the rules state that election will be certified no earlier than December 26 and no later than January 3. “We’ve got to make sure that occurs the way the code prescribes it to occur.” Merrill said there’s “always a chance of a recount because any candidate can ask for a recount” if they pay for it.
He told CNN that it it’s unlikely that the result of the election will be anything other than a Jones victory.
Jones’ victory came on his 25th wedding anniversary to his wife, Louise Jones. He thanked his family and friends, calling it a “historic” day.
“The people of Alabama have always had more in common than to divide us,” Jones said. “We have shown the country the way that we can be unified. … Folks we have come so far, we have come so far and the people of Alabama have spoken.”
Jones told his supporters, “There are important issues facing this country. There are important issues of health care, and jobs and the economy. And I would like as everyone in the entire probably free world knows right now, we’ve tried to make sure that this campaign is about common ground and reaching across and actually getting things done for the people. So I have this challenge to my future colleagues in Washington. Don’t wait on me. Take this election from the great state of Alabama said we want to get something done, we want to find common ground, we want to talk. And go ahead and fund that CHIP program before I get up there. Put it aside and lets do it for those million kids and 150,000 in Birmingham, Alabama.”
He added, “This vote, I’ve said it before, Alabama has been at a crossroads. We have been at a crossroads in the past and unfortunately we’ve usually taken the wrong fork. Tonight ladies and gentlemen you took the right fork.”
The crowd then chanted “U-S-A, U-S-A” as the victorious Jones beamed at the podium.
“Tonight is a night for rejoicing,” Jones said. “As Dr. King liked to quote ‘the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.’ Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, tonight in this time, in this place, you helped bend that moral arc a little closer to that justice.”
As Jones was finishing his speech, President Trump tweeted, “Congratulations to Doug Jones on a hard fought victory. 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!”
The special election to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the Senate garnered national attention as accusations of child molestation and inappropriate behavior by Moore were made by several women. Moore defeated interim Senator Luther Strange in the primary and opened up the possibility for Democrats to claim a Senate seat in the deeply red Alabama for the first time since 1992.
Jones will serve out the final three years of Sessions term. Senators typically serve for six years.
Moore, who was already a controversial candidate because of past statements about homosexuality, women and Muslims, maintained the support of President Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee, while many other Republicans withdrew their support for him.
The race was key to Trump’s ability to follow through on his legislative agenda and have his nominees confirmed for key government positions and judicial seats, as Republicans currently hold a 52-48 majority. With Jones victory, the GOP majority dips to just 51-49.
Jones said Tuesday that voters had an opportunity to reject Moore, who was already ousted twice from his position as Chief Justice of the state’s Supreme Court, and stop an embarrassment to Alabama.
“In Alabama we have come so far with too many things, and there is saying: ‘Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.’ Alabama is not going to let that shame happen again,” Jones told reporters.
On Tuesday, Moore rode his horse, Sassy, to vote in his hometown of Gallant, telling reporters outside the polling place, that voters “ought to go out and vote their conscience, and we’ll have a tremendous turnout.” Moore had been quiet in recent days, spending the final weekend of the campaign out of state at the Army-Navy football game, according to The Hill.
Trump pushed his supporters to vote for Moore on Tuesday, tweeting, “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!”
Moore lost the support of the state’s other senator, Richard Shelby, also a Republican, who told CNN on Sunday that he did not vote for Moore when he submitted his absentee ballot.
“I’d rather see the Republican win, but I’d rather see a Republican write-in. I couldn’t vote for Roy Moore. I didn’t vote for Roy Moore,” Shelby said. “”(W)e call it a tipping point. I think, so many accusations, so many cuts, so many drip, drip, drip — when it got to the 14-year-old’s story, that was enough for me. I said I can’t vote for Roy Moore.”
Some senators had called for the Senate’s Ethics Committee to investigate Moore if elected and to possibly expel him from his seat. GOP Senators planned to meet Wednesday morning to discuss the next steps if Moore wins.
“The Senate has to look at who’s fit to serve in the Senate,” Shelby told CNN.
The accusations might not have played a major role in the election, according to exit polls.
“Most voters casting ballots in Alabama’s special election for U.S. Senate say they decided on their candidate some time ago, according to early exit polling. Six in 10 made up their minds before November – largely prior to when allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced against Republican candidate Roy Moore. Still, nearly four in 10 say they made their decision in November or after that, including about one in five who decided this month,” CBS News says.
According to CBS, “Alabama voters divide on the validity of the allegations of sexual misconduct levelled against Moore. Just under half think they are true, while more than four in 10 think they are false. Most Jones voters believe the allegations, while most of Moore’s supporters do not. For roughly 40 percent of the voters, these allegations were an important factor in their vote Tuesday. More than six in 10 Jones supporters say they were an important factor, but about four out of five Moore backers they were not important.”
ABC News reports that exit polls show, “Trump manages only 48-48 percent approval-disapproval among voters in deep-red Alabama. And those who “strongly” disapprove of the president’s work in office outnumber strong approvers by 9 points, 41 percent to 32 percent.”
Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by 28 points in Alabama in 2016.