After months of a bitter campaign that has been the subject of national attention and significant strife within the Republican Party, Democrat Doug Jones has defeated Roy Moore in Alabama’s special election to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ vacated seat in the United States Senate.
The Associated Press just called the race:
BREAKING: Democrat Doug Jones won election to the U.S. Senate from Alabama in a sharp blow to President Trump that narrows the GOP’s majority in the Senate to two. He beat Roy Moore, a former chief justice of the state Supreme Court who had been accused of sexual misconduct.
— The Associated Press (@AP) December 13, 2017
Fox News also called the race for Jones at about 9:25PM central time, with Jones having 49.6% of the vote to Moore’s 48.8%, and 89% of Alabama precincts reporting.
Moore became a national name years ago when he fought against the removal of a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building, up to the point where he chose to lose his job rather than surrender to the secularization of America. Strange, meanwhile, was appointed by Alabama Governor Robert Bentley to hold the Senate seat until the special election — a controversial appointment given that Strange had been the state Attorney General investigating Bentley at the time.
This primary drew national attention as a front in the war between the moderate Republican establishment and the conservative grassroots, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell endorsing and investing heavily in Strange’s campaign, while figures including Steve Bannon, Ann Coulter, Breitbart, and other supporters of President Donald Trump rallied around Moore as a conservative outsider who would stand up to GOP leadership. President Donald Trump, however, had endorsed Strange in the GOP primary, which may have been meant as a gesture to make nice with McConnell.
After the nomination the race appeared like it would be a cakewalk for Moore in red-state Alabama…until a series of media reports began popping up that alleged Moore had attempted to date teenage girls while in his thirties — some of whom he was alleged to have attempted to molest and assault. Moore unequivocally denied all claims of sexual, nonconsensual activity, though he was evasive on whether he had dated any minors.
These charges naturally turned that cakewalk into a close race, with a number of high-profile Republicans and conservatives advocating that Republican voters stay home rather than vote for him, and making it a near-certainty that Moore would face a Senate Ethics Committee investigation into the charges in the event of his victory. But between questions raised about the details of accusers’ claims, a strong endorsement from President Donald Trump, and Jones’ pro-abortion radicalism, Moore continued to have a chance.
The race also has major national implications, as The Hill noted:
A Jones win would put more pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to work with Democrats. Most significantly, it could scuttle efforts to replace ObamaCare and reform entitlement programs — a top priority for Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) in 2018.
If the Senate Republican majority shrinks by one seat — giving them a razor thin 51-49 majority — it will give more leverage to GOP moderates such as Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), John McCain (Ariz.), Jeff Flake (Ariz.) and Bob Corker (Tenn.).
But it will also empower maverick conservatives such as Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who have threatened at times this year to derail the GOP agenda to win concessions.
What do you think this means for the GOP/Trump agenda, and what will this mean for the 2020 midterms? Sound off below.