Doug Jones on Tuesday became the first Democrat in a generation to win a Senate seat in Alabama, beating Republican Roy Moore amid a firestorm of allegations that the GOP candidate had sexually abused teens.
Moore, however, refused to concede Tuesday night.
“When the vote is this close … it’s not over,” Moore told supporters after Jones declared victory.
The results are nothing short of an embarrassment for President Donald Trump and a disaster for Republicans in Washington as the reliably red state of Alabama elected its first Democratic senator since the early 1990s.
“I think I have been waiting all my life and now I don’t know what the hell to say,” Jones said Tuesday night.
“I am truly overwhelmed,” he added. “We have shown, not just around the state of Alabama, but we have shown the country the way that we can be unified.”
“This entire race has been about dignity and respect. This campaign — this campaign has been about the rule of law,” he said. “This campaign has been about common courtesy and decency and making sure everyone in this state, regardless of which ZIP code you live in, is going to get a fair shake in life.”
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill told CNN that while results are not yet certified, it is “highly unlikely” Jones will not be the winner of the Senate race.
“I would find that highly unlikely to occur … there’s not a whole of mistakes that are made,” Merrill said.
Should the results hold, the Republican Party’s narrow Senate majority will be trimmed to 51-49. And two wings — the establishment led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and an insurgency led by former Trump White House chief strategist Steve Bannon — are now in open civil war headed into an already fraught midterm election year.
It’s an especially awkward outcome for Trump, who endorsed Moore on Twitter and rallied for him at a campaign event just across Alabama’s state line.
“This is an earthquake… it’s devastating for the President,” a source close to the White House said.
Moore’s defeat amid allegations of child molestation and sexual assault could fuel growing calls from Democrats for Trump to resign from office over the accusations of sexual assault against him.
Shortly after the race was called, Trump 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!”