Democrat Doug Jones has defeated Republican Roy Moore in Alabama’s U.S. Senate special election, in a stunning upset victory.
The Associated Press called the race for Jones at approximately 10:30 PM Eastern Time, after results from some of Alabama’s more populated counties put Jones ahead of Moore by roughly 10,000 votes. Jones will be the first Democrat to represent Alabama in the U.S. Senate in more than two decades.
Alabama’s special election was closely contested, with both President Trump and former President Barack Obama recording robocalls asking Alabamians to vote for their party’s respective candidates. Trump repeatedly attacked Jones on Twitter, accusing the former U.S. Attorney who successfully prosecuted two klansmen behind the fatal bombing of a black church in Birmingham in 1963, “soft on crime.”
The election was held to fill the senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions, whom Trump appointed to be Attorney General. Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange was tapped to fill the seat until tonight’s election, though he was defeated by Roy Moore in the Republican primary.
Roughly a month prior to the election, Moore was plagued by allegations of molesting teenage girls which he vehemently denied, after a groundbreaking report by the Washington Post. Moore also said that he felt America was greatest under chattel slavery, and his own spokesman said he “probably” thought homosexuality should be made illegal.
Jones’ upset victory over Moore will likely hamper President Trump’s efforts to pass through a $1.4 trillion tax bill on solid party lines. The bill needs 51 votes to pass the senate under budget reconciliation rules, and Senators Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) have both expressed reservations with the legislation in its current form.
Michael Boone is a freelance journalist and columnist writing about politics, government, race, and media. He graduated from Texas Southern University’s School of Communication, and lives in Houston’s Third Ward.