By a narrow margin, the Democrat Jones managed to snatch the senatorial seat of Roy Moore, amid the accusations of sexual harassment against him that seem to have helped in the fall of the Republican.
Democrat Doug Jones was elected to the US Senate on Tuesday in a dramatic and shocking end to a polarized campaign that turned this unusual state election – overshadowed by accusations of sexual harassment against the Republican candidate and anticipation of the possibility that a Democrat would win the post after 25 years – in a competition that was followed with interest in the rest of the country and throughout the world.
The disputed seat in question was the vacancy left by Jeff Sessions when he was appointed as attorney general and in 2014 with 97% support. Alabama being a red state, it was expected to be easily won by the Republican candidate.
However, Jones, a 63-year-old former federal prosecutor, became the first Democrat to win a seat in the Senate for that state in a quarter of a century . It was imposed by a margin of 1.5% in a state that President Donald Trump obtained by a difference of 28 points in the presidential elections last November.
Jones competed against conservative anti-establishment Republican judge Roy Moore , a controversial figure in Alabama before the election that became even more controversial when allegations of sexual harassment against him arose in early November. Moore appealed to the white evangelical Christian base of the state, repeatedly citing the Bible in campaign speeches.
But the exit polls indicated that between 57% and 42% of women would vote for Jones, as well as 96% of the African-American electorate, in an election that has had a greater participation than in other occasions: a 40%.
On Tuesday night in downtown Birmingham, Jones acknowledged being overwhelmed by sharing a message of unity with his followers who were waiting for results at the campaign center.
“I’ve always believed that the people of Alabama have more in common than what divides us, and we have shown the entire state of Alabama and the country how we can unify,” he said.
Moore, for his part, addressed his supporters without conceding victory to his rival and warned in a brief appearance that the votes are still being counted. “When the vote is so close, it’s not over,” he told his supporters in Montgomery before quoting the scriptures and leaving the room.
In fact, according to Alabama law, if the margin of difference were 0.5 or less, a vote count would be activated automatically, unless the losing candidate resigns in writing to the recount. However, it is also permissible for the loser to request a count in the next 48 hours if the result is close to 0.5%, which in the beginning would have to be paid by the applicant, but would be reimbursed in case the result turns around. his favor, something that at the moment seems unlikely.
Despite Moore’s reluctance to acknowledge the results, Alabama’s Secretary of State, John Merrill, told CNN that it was “unlikely” that there would be a change in the outcome. “The people of Alabama have spoken,” he said.
President Trump, without waiting for Moore to admit his defeat, tweeted with unusual kindness his congratulations to Jones, whom he had referred to in the campaign as “terrible”.
“Congratulations to Doug Jones for a hard-fought victory,” he wrote in a message warning that “Erpublicans will have another chance to (occupy) this seat in a short period of time.” This never ends! ” he added, alluding to midterm elections next year.
Trump also mentioned the votes that were entered in the handwritten ballot box with the name of another Republican candidate, which are not considered valid for what benefits the Democratic candidate.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 13, 2017
The unexpected result, which defied most polls, surprised voters who did not believe it was possible to elect a Democrat.
When the results were announced, Jones’ headquarters erupted in shouts. After CNN and other media declared Jones the winner, they began dancing happily in the campaign command where they expected the results.
John England, 70, judge of the 6th Circuit in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, fought to contain the tears. He was one of the first African Americans admitted to the Law School of the University of Alabama.
“This was a victory for Alabama, for people who believe in inclusion instead of exclusion,” he said, overwhelmed by the excitement.