For the first time in a quarter century, Alabamians voted Tuesday to send Democrat former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones to Washington, D.C., rejecting conservative former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore.
The Associated Press called the election shortly after 10:30 p.m. EST, about two and a half hours after polls closed and with about 10 percent of the vote left to count. As of this writing, Jones has a 671,000 votes to Moore’s 650,000, a difference of 1.5 percentage points.
In his victory speech, Jones said:
"We have shown the country the way that we can be unified. This entire race has been about dignity and respect. This campaign has been about the rule of law," Jones said in his victory speech.
Moore, on the other hand, refused to concede defeat. Instead, he told his supporters to “wait on God and let this process play out.” He then sent them home to “sleep on it.”
According to exit polling, the allegations of sexual impropriety nearly 40 years ago against Moore had little bearing on the outcome. Only 40 percent considered it relevant, while 10 percent said it the primary deciding factor in their vote. The same polling suggested the president may be losing support within the base that elected him. In a state he won handily last November, less than 50 percent said they approved of his job performance.
Once the results were in, he 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!
Once the election is certified, and barring a major, unforeseen change, Jones’ apparent victory is official, he will immediately be sworn in to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the Senate. Republicans will then hold an even slimmer 51-49 majority.