Democratic candidate Doug Jones will be the new US senator from Alabama after defeating Republican Roy Moore in a special runoff election, according to AP. Jones’ shocking victory will send ripples through Congress, and could impact upcoming races.
With 89 percent of precincts reporting, Jones was declared the winner with 49.6 percent of the vote, compared to Moore’s 48.8 percent, according to the Associated Press.
Democrats will feel momentum after winning such a close race in a deep red state. Last year, Democrat Hillary Clinton lost to then-candidate Donald Trump by 28 points. Jones is the first Democrat elected to the Senate in Alabama since 1992, when Senator Richard Shelby won his seat. Shelby has since re-registered with the Republican Party.
Jones’ win represents a clean sweep of elections in the state of Alabama for the Democratic Party this year, as he will now take over Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ former post. His win also brings Democrats a step closer to their goal of winning back the US Senate majority next year, as the Republican majority in that chamber has now been reduced down to one seat.
Jones began using the accusations against Moore in the race for the Senate seat. Sexual misconduct or assault accusations against Moore started to flood in from a total of nine women, while seven of the women claimed Moore sexually assaulted, harassed or had a relationship with them when they were teenagers, and Moore was in his 30’s.
During the campaign, Jones received support from high profile Democrats such as former President Barack Obama and Senator Cory Booker (D-New Jersey).
Controversy surrounding Jones’ challenger, Moore, dates back to his days as chief justice in Alabama in 2001, when Moore hung a homemade Ten Commandments plaque on his court room’s wall. Defendants in the courtroom eventually issued complaints about the plaque, and also took issue with Moore’s decision to begin court sessions with prayer, according to Alabama Media Group.
Moore did not comply with the orders, although, after lawsuits were filed on behalf of three lawyers against the plaque, in 2003, a federal court order forced its removal from Moore’s courtroom. That same year, the Alabama Court of the Judiciary unanimously ordered Moored to be removed from his position as chief justice, Alabama Media Group reported.