After a tumultuous race for a United States Senate seat in Alabama, Democrat Doug Jones claimed victory over accused sexual predator Roy Moore late on Tuesday in a strong political blow against President Donald Trump and the Republican Party.
The underdog won in a strongly red state put an Alabama Democrat in the Senate for the first time in 25 years, pushing the Republican majority in the upper chamber to 51 over 49, setting up liberals to possibly increase to a majority during next year’s elections.
The state of Alabama was won by the Trump-Pence ticket by a solid 28-point landslide in the 2016 presidential election, but has now sided with the Democrat nominee.
Trump tweeted an unexpected congratulations to Jones on Tuesday night and went on to type that “the people of Alabama are great, and the Republicans will have another shot at this seat in a very short period of time.”
Early on Wednesday morning, Trump followed up with a tweet saying that the reason he endorsed Luther Strange in the Alabama Republican primaries was because he believed then that Moore wouldn’t win the senate election.
“I was right! Roy worked hard but the deck was stacked against him,” he posted. Trump did end up backing Moore during the senate race, however.
U.S. stock projections and the dollar dropped slightly on Wednesday following the poll count as the Democrat win could endanger Trump’s policy agenda, according to Reuters news agency.
Alabama Secretary John Merrill, who is an authority on the election, said that a recount is unlikely. An automatic recount would occur if the results were within half a percent, according to Alabama state law.
Officially, the latest figures put 99 per cent of the vote counted with Jones having a solid 1.5 per cent lead over Moore, but the Republican has not yet conceded the race.
Newly minted Senator-elect Doug Jones, however, started celebrating the win last night, tweeting “Thank you Alabama!!” when it became clear he had taken a solid lead.
“I have always believed that the people of Alabama have more in common than divides us. We have shown the country the way forward,” Jones said in victory statements.
“At the end of the day this entire race has been about dignity and respect. This campaign has [been] about the rule of law.”
His opponent, Moore, was accused by multiple women of pursuing relationships with them when they were teenagers while he was in his 30s, and some of them accused Moore of sexual assault, abuse or cited harassment.
Moore, 70, has denied the accusations, telling supporters that it was a “smear campaign” by Democrats and the media.
Major win for women’s rights
More details to follow. Image 1 of Doug Jones’ victory speech from AL.