Democrat Doug Jones captured a major victory on Tuesday night, wining the special election to fill Alabama’s vacant U.S. Senate seat and delivering a substantial blow to the Republican legislative agenda.
Jones, a former U.S. attorney, beat Republican Roy Moore in an election day marked by unusually high turnout throughout the state, particularly among African-Americans.
Amazing: turnout is at 72%-77% of '16 presidential race in heavily black counties, but just 55%-60% in rural white counties. Black voters punching above their weight tonight & giving Jones a chance. #ALSEN
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) December 13, 2017
Jones also benefitted from organized efforts to register thousands of ex-felons who voted for the first time.
Jones’ moderate Democratic platform could not have stood in clearer contrast to Moore’s extreme conservative views. The former state Supreme Court justice and assistant district attorney co-authored a textbook that said women shouldn’t run for office, praised the period in American history when slavery was legal, and said the country would be better off if all amendments after the Tenth were repealed, including those that guarantee voting rights to women and African Americans. Moore entered the race as a firebrand challenger to Republican establishment favorite, Luther Strange, whom he beat resoundingly in the state’s Republican primary.
Despite previously supporting Strange, Trump threw his support behind Moore in recent weeks, saying Jones was “terrible on crime…terrible on the border…terrible on the military,” while supporting Moore’s denial of his sexual assault allegations.
The race was turned on its head in early September when the Washington Post reported claims from four women who said that Roy Moore had attempted to initiate sexual encounters with them when he was in his 30s and they were in their teens. Two of the women, Leigh Corfman and Wendy Miller, said they were just 14 when Moore initiated the encounter. In a separate report by AL.com, Moore was alleged to have prowled a local shopping mall in Gadsden Alabama, looking for teenage girls to pick up.
Jones highlighted the allegations against Moore, launching a series of broadsides against the former judge and questioning whether he was a suitable candidate for Senate. “I damn sure believe, and have done my part to ensure that men who hurt little girls should go to jail, and not the United States Senate,” Jones said during a speech in Birmingham last week.