The Republic Party’s already small U.S. Senate majority will be cut down even further after Doug Jones’ surprising victory in Tuesday’s special election in Alabama.
Just before 10:39 p.m. local time, networks called the race with 91 percent of precincts reporting and Jones holding a one percent lead over GOP challenger, Judge Roy Moore. The win marks a special point in history, with Jones becoming the first Alabama Democrat to win the seat in a full generation.
“I think I have been waiting all my life and now I don’t know what the hell to say,” Jones said Tuesday night at his rally in Birmingham. “I am truly truly overwhelmed; but you know folks and you have all heard me say this at one point in this campaign that the people had more in common than what divides us. We have shown not just around the state of Alabama, but we have shown the country the way that we can be unified.”
Following Jones’ speech, Moore appeared in Montgomery to assure his supporters the race wasn’t over, citing overseas absentee ballots that haven’t been counted. However, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill told CNN in a late-night interview it would be “highly unlikely” that Jones would not be officially declared the winner.
With approximately 99 percent of ballots counted, Jones has just under a 22,000 vote lead, 1.5 percent of total votes, one full percentage point more than would trigger an automatic recount.
Despite a close vote, the Democratic victory may prove to be a blow for Donald Trump politically, after the president endorsed Moore and publicly denounced Jones’ agenda.
Before the election, Trump tweeted: “The people of Alabama will do the right thing. Doug Jones is Pro-Abortion, weak on Crime, Military and Illegal Immigration, Bad for Gun Owners and Veterans and against the WALL.”
Trump also made social media remarks post-election that although offered up congratulations to Jones for the win, included a slight tone of resentment about the outcome.
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
Despite Trump’s optimism for the GOP, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) predicted over the weekend that Moore will give Democrats a smoking gun for the future.
“He’ll be the gift that keeps on giving for Democrats. If you’re running in 2018, Roy Moore’s going to be your new best friend. As a Republican, to think that you can win without the baggage of Roy Moore is pretty naive,” he said.
Democrats are hoping they will continue to excite and grow their base and ignite candidate recruitment looking ahead to 2018.
[Washington Times] [CNN] [Politico] [Photo courtesy Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images via ABC News]